CES 2024: What We Were Talking About in Vegas

Although CES is a massive exhibit that also offers a ton of interesting seminars, many of us are primarily there for the connections and conversations.

Rather spending the week at the show itself, we spend more time having meetings with industry colleagues while so many are in one city at the same time.

So, what were the hottest topics of the backrooms and restaurants in Vegas during CES, when it comes to the telecom retail sector? 

Here are my top three trends that seemed to be on everyone’s minds. 

1. Device purchases are being further delayed by eSIM technology.

The number of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) activations enabled by eSIM seems to be on the rise. We’ve heard that many of the MVNOs and Tier 1 carriers are seeing a significant increase in BYOD activations. This has a direct effect on the telecom retail industry as it is enabling further delays in the purchase of new handsets, accessories, and warranties. This is in addition to an already slowing buying cycle, due to several factors including a tight economy and more incremental improvements in new device models. And, of course, all this has a knock-on effect. Businesses that traditionally benefitted from attach rates at the point of sale are also seeing declining revenues due to the lack of opportunity in a BYOD activation.

2. The prepaid wireless market is still — and will remain — a hot topic.

Prepaid continues to make a splash. One player in the space that seems to be gaining a lot of traction is Mobile X, the brainchild of former Boost Mobile executive Peter Addington. Mobile X has a build your own plan’ approach that is very consumer centric and gaining traction. Exciting new players like this are rising along with the rapidly growing prepaid brands of established carriers, such as Total by Verizon, which has pledged to open hundreds of TbV doors this year. We can expect prepaid to continue to be a massive growth area and major topic of discussion for some time to come. 

3. AI is driving the push for connected cars.

With all the hype over AI over the past year, and at CES itself, consumer expectation is now driving the need for connected cars. The utility of AI in new handsets is expected to be seamless with its user’s connected car, with each talking to the other and offering automatic assistance such as directions and traffic predictions. With many manufacturers introducing AI in the cockpit, it won’t be long before this kind of advanced connectivity in cars will be expected, versus a nice-to-have, for the early adopters. 

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