The Mobile Carriers

Rebranding Phone Carriers. The End User.

Rebranding Phone Carriers and the changing world

This market study of Rebranding Phone Carriers is in the process of being updated. Still, the lessons imparted here are still valuable and vital in today’s market. The names have changed but the rules remain the same.

Introduction. Rebranding Phone Carriers

rebranding phone carriers

Telephone brands still matter

Today, the U.S. consumer has made adjustments by altering their spending habits. While many of the nation’s largest companies and brands struggle as a result.

Many have merged, others are declaring bankruptcy. And, only a few are looking for ways to win and grow market share.

Those aiming higher than the rest understand a few things. That, no matter the economic situation or the category, a few always emerge as the victors. They win by taking market share from competitor brands.

Stealing Share commissioned a national research study of U.S. consumers to get a snapshot of what consumers are thinking. And, if rebranding phone carriers makes sense.

How it affects their actions now and in the future is important to us. The survey asked consumers about their habits. Their decision-making processes and beliefs about themselves and the world at large.

It also asked questions about many specific industries, including the mobile industry.

Rebranding Phone Carriers and their Brands

The bad news for cell phone carriers. Only 15% of consumers said they have switched carriers in the last year. This means most Americans hang onto their cell phones longer than the providers would like them to.

The good news. If mobile carriers are aiming for the youth market, that’s the market to target. More than a third (35.7%) of those under the age of 30 have switched in the last year.

If nothing else there is a specific target to hit: The young. And, it seems, that’s exactly who many cell phone providers market to. Alltel is gone but look at this commercial from some time ago.


But Alltel and others only market to the youth market in the most benign of ways.

Most resemble a beer commercial  the “dumb” guys approach.” With, in the case of Alltel, a goofy version of the “I’m a Mac” approach (and without the direct identification).


Not much has changed. Here is a recent T-Mobil commercial aimed at a younger demographic.

Our research project, however, provides a sense of who those twentysomethings are, the consumers who come of age in the cell phone era and, therefore, are most likely to use them.

T-Mobile Rebranding Phone Carriers by co-branding

In comparison with other age groups, Generation Y (and a few from Generation X) is more frugal in their spending, but, as you would expect, they are also more easily adaptable to change.

The fact they are more frugal may be a surprise to many because it’s been a common theory that they are the most easily swayed by marketing messages because of how powerful a role peer influence plays in their lives.

That is still probably true, but that doesn’t mean they spend more than most.

In fact, the opposite is the case: 69% of those under 30 say they have permanently changed their bad spending habits.

A greater number than the 52.8% of the other age groups combined. Generation Y also bases purchasing decisions on price more than others (81% of those under 30, 65.7% for the rest) and stays at home more (78.6% compared to 56.3% for the rest of the world).

Why a discrepancy? Can rebranding phone carriers make them relevant?

What has produced this discrepancy? Simple. They are more worried about losing their jobs than anyone else. Almost half of them (45.2%) said they worry about losing their jobs while only 34.1% of the rest of us do.

For cell phone providers, that doesn’t mean price is everything. Those younger consumers are simply looking for what will do the job as they hunker down and seek refuge. It has more to do with “smart” and “right,” and seeking the “best” is not what they are after.

That is one reason why the market leaders have so completely overwhelmed the market.

The top four – AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile – account for 84.4% of the market.

Top dog AT&T, in fact, has the largest percentage of growth among the big four carriers, although some of that can be attributed to the rising of the iPhone.

While the younger demographic has hunkered down as much, if not more, than everyone else, there are nuances that marketers can exploit.

Generation Y rides most natural societal currents better than anyone. Watching most television from sources other than the main networks (71.4% to 58.5% of everyone else) and finding less of the content on TV less objectionable (only 52.4% thought there was too much of it, while 74.0% of those older agreed).

Here is a Verizon Spot aimed at an even younger demographic


The rebranding phones carriers effort by Sprint

Sprint has tried to rebrand. Here is a recent commercial from Sprint. They usurped the old Verizon Guy (Read a blog about Verizon Here )to push their own service. The Sprint rebranding mobile phone carriers initiative speaking directly to Verizon users. But, The Verizon guy is dated.

That means they are trying to steal share. But the message is to be just like everyone else.  The message is a value brand message. Positioning Sprint as being as good as others but at a cheaper cost.

Rebranding phones carriers by talking about the Phones

However, the market share among the carriers hasn’t shifted much, with few of those outside the big four able to make much headway. Everyone sells everything. Quite a difference when you had to go to AT&T to get an iPhone. (Smart Phones).The rebranding phone carriers have been only cosmetic.

Here is a newer spot from Apple

Here is an old spot for the iPhone 6


Verizon sells the Pixel. What a surprise.


That is, in part, the carrier industry is made up of a bunch of copycats. From the point of view of the consumer, the carriers all look and sound alike, especially in terms of tone and personality.

Not much has changed. Here is a spot from 2014

If you took out the logos at the end, you wouldn’t be able to tell the differences. The brands in this market feel and act the same.

Verizon Logo

Rebranding phone carriers mean more than just a logo change.

That means consumers can’t tell the difference between them. Differences beyond a logo. Therefore, defaulting to one of the market leaders because, in the minds of consumers, you can’t go wrong with “big.” I guess Verizon and AT&T continue to win.

 (Read about brand differentiation here)