Tarifica’s Data Dive – Unraveling the Future: Forecast 2024

Tarifica’s Data Dive – Unraveling the Future: Forecast 2024

Unraveling the Future: Forecast 2024

by Soichi Nakajima, Vincent Bonneau and Will Watts

With a new year upon us, a burning question emerges: what surprises does the dynamic telecom industry hold for 2024? In this month’s edition of Tarifica’s Data Dive, our industry-leading experts share their forecast, based on their years of collective experience and robust data from Tarifica’s Telecom Pricing Intelligence Platform (TPIP).

In the coming year, we anticipate seismic shifts in the industry, driven by transformative technologies and shifting consumer behaviors. From the widespread adoption of eSIM technology to the rise of family-centric subscription models, operators will face unprecedented opportunities and challenges.

eSIM: Revolutionizing Competition

One of the most significant trends on the horizon is the proliferation of eSIM technology. First released in 2016, it was primarily used in IoT devices, but the launch of the iPhone XR in 2019 introduced eSIM to the consumer phone market. eSIM has since gained traction in consumer smartphones, unlocking new possibilities for bundles, price competition, and personalized offerings.

Apple’s groundbreaking move to eSIM-only iPhones in the US (starting with the iPhone 14 and 15), along with their newly minted market dominance, surpassing Samsung for the first time last month, together signify a pivotal moment for eSIM adoption. This sets the stage for eSIM to play a transformative role in the reshaping of competition and consumer choice in 2024.

Navigating Churn and Competition

eSIM allows for instant activation and simpler enrolment, which makes switching from one operator to another easier than ever. Even before fully switching, customers may be able to download an eSIM profile with a “test drive” offer to try out a carrier’s network, with the trial period defined in terms of days or data volume, or both. Churn in most developed markets is at around 10%, but eSIM could easily push this rate even higher.

Additionally, we anticipate increased competition among operators, not only centered around pricing – which remains a key factor in consumer plan selection – but also on the quality of service. Distinguishing between providers offering similar pricing structures will increasingly rely on a blend of these two factors in a price-quality ratio. As this metric will play a pivotal role in analyzing telecom competition moving forward, we have already integrated the capacity to generate this ratio within our Telecom Pricing Intelligence Platform, effectively merging network Quality of Service (QoS) data with pricing information to facilitate more comprehensive comparisons.

Unlocking Marketing Niches and Bundling Opportunities

While family plans have gained popularity in the US, offering devices for multiple users, operators are now exploring more versatile bundling options. These options allow users to add a wider array of eSIM-enabled devices like tablets, laptops, and connected car dongles to their phone plans, and enable multiple devices for one user. In a bid to attract new customers, operators are already providing price discounts on companion device plans, with a separate data allowance, when bundled with a primary smartphone.

As telecom pricing plans become less standardized and more diverse, this will introduce more complexity into the analysis of pricing and plan data. In light of increasing variability, a basket-based approach is likely to be the most realistic method for comparing offers. With Tarifica’s Telecom Pricing Intelligence Platform (TPIP), we capture all the raw pricing and plan data, which enables clients to construct and adapt baskets to various scenarios, which goes beyond traditional comparisons utilized in the market, such as the OECD.

In an era of escalating competition, telecom providers are beginning to embrace the transformative potential of eSIM technology. Leveraging its capabilities for instant activation, versatile bundling options, and enhanced customer experiences, operators are poised to redefine the landscape of competition and consumer choice. Tarifica’s Telecom Pricing Intelligence Platform (TPIP) empowers clients to navigate this dynamic shift, facilitating comprehensive analysis and adaptation to the evolving eSIM-driven marketplace.

Bundling Beyond Telecom

While “more-for-more” has been the dominant strategy in telecom plan development, the future of bundling extends beyond shared connectivity. In the coming year, we expect operators to focus more on streaming content and other digital subscription services which are not traditionally part of the telecom ecosystem.

It’s reasonable to say that the telecom market has reached maturity—available products are essentially interchangeable (meaning consumers are primarily basing their decision on price), and therefore that the only way to continue to grow has been to bundle together ever-more services, enabling operators to continue to increase the total bill. However, there are two indicators that operators will need to begin thinking outside the box:

Quad-Play is Nothing New

In many European markets, all MNOs now offer the full quad-play bundles (broadband internet, television, telephone and mobile). The challenge in continuing the “more-for-more” strategy is that more services must be added to the package to justify increased prices.

Erosion of Core Value Propositions

The traditional quad-play bundle is showing cracks, with certain elements struggling to maintain the appeal they commanded a decade ago. While mobile lines and fixed broadband connections are considered to be as essential as ever, the other two elements, landlines and television, are seeing their value in the marketplace decline.

Digital Services Will Reshape Bundles

Many operators have already turned to developing partnerships with popular video streaming providers such as Netflix, Hulu and Disney+, and/or integrating streaming services dedicated to music, sports, or news into their packages. This trend is already well underway, driven by shifting consumer preferences toward on-demand content streaming, and creating opportunities for operators to tap into new revenue streams.

We expect the addition of streaming services to bundles to continue and accelerate further this year, with most of the largest operators having multi-app bundles available with their plans by the end of 2024. However, having made the first successful move toward applications not directly related to telecom, it would make sense for operators to look even further afield. Beyond streaming apps, we anticipate operators to explore partnerships with other services from the subscription-based internet economy, such as Uber, Instacart, or Nike Membership, further enriching their bundles with diverse offerings.

Of course, developing these new bundles will not be without its challenges. Choosing the right partnership and pricing structure is critical. Balancing discounts with consumer flexibility is crucial to incentivize bundle adoption while ensuring profitability. Despite these potential pitfalls, the evolution of telecom bundles towards comprehensive digital subscriptions represents a significant opportunity for operators to drive growth.

Family-Centric Strategies

While the concept of bundling fixed broadband access, fixed voice, mobile connection, and TV services into a single package—commonly known as double, triple, or quadruple play depending on the number of services bundled—is not new, its significance is poised to increase significantly. In 2024, the battle for market share will likely begin to focus more heavily on the family unit, with operators vying for dominance in quadruple play and multi-SIM subscriptions.

Tightening Belts, Expanding Choices

The current economic landscape, marked by rising inflation and financial strain on consumers, has led individuals and families alike to seek more and more ways to economize. In this context, the appeal of comprehensive bundled services becomes increasingly attractive as consumers aim to streamline their expenses while still enjoying a wide range of telecommunications offerings.

At the same time, telecommunications providers are grappling with the dual challenge of reducing churn rates and maintaining profitability in the face of declining Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and escalating acquisition costs. As a result, the focus on capturing entire families through bundled subscriptions has become more pronounced than ever before.

By providing comprehensive bundled offerings that encompass essential services under a single umbrella, providers can not only enhance customer retention but also drive sustainable growth in an increasingly competitive market landscape.

Value-Added Connections with Mobile

Put simply, while one fixed broadband connection typically suffices for an entire household, the same cannot be said for mobile subscriptions. In the past, one household could get by with one (or two, in the era of dial-up internet) phone lines, but today, each member of the household generally requires their own mobile line. However, by consolidating these subscriptions under a single contract, operators can present families with compelling quadruple play offers, bundling not only fixed broadband but also multiple mobile subscriptions at a discounted rate.

Once a Family, Always a Family

From an operator’s perspective, one of the primary advantages of offering family-oriented subscription bundles is the anticipated lock-in effect they generate. By bundling services for the entire family, operators can create a scenario where if any member were to leave the subscription, the collective benefits, including added value and discounts, would be lost for all members. This dynamic significantly reduces the likelihood of churn among family members, as the loss of benefits acts as a deterrent to individual subscription cancellations.

Despite the initial costs associated with providing discounts, extra data, and speed, operators recognize the long-term value of securing subscriptions with reduced churn probabilities. The potential for sustained revenue from loyal family subscribers outweighs the upfront investment required to incentivize subscription bundling.

In a fiercely competitive market, telecom providers are increasingly recognizing the power of family-centric strategies. By catering to the diverse needs and preferences of families, offering them value, convenience, and flexibility, providers will be well-positioned to unlock a loyal customer base and drive sustainable growth.

In addition to our analysis of telecom industry trends, Tarifica hosts quarterly webinars where we delve into various telecommunications strategies, including the intricacies of family-oriented subscription bundles. These webinars serve as valuable forums for industry professionals to exchange insights and strategies, ensuring that operators remain equipped to navigate the evolving landscape of telecommunications with confidence and foresight.

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) finds itself at the center of a heated debate in the telecom industry. As the technology evolves, key questions remain: Is it a competitor or a collaborator to fiber networks? Can it truly bridge the digital divide in remote and underserved areas where laying fiber is impractical? Will public support and funding materialize to support its wider adoption?

The debate surrounding 5G FWA will undoubtedly intensify in 2024. However, amidst these debates, one crucial aspect often overlooked is the cost for consumers and the value that cost offers.

More FWA On The Way

Tarifica’s Telecom Pricing Intelligence Platform (TPIP) meticulously monitors Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) as part of its comprehensive coverage of fixed broadband plans and pricing. Over the course of 2023, our data showed a notable trend: the average price of FWA has predominantly decreased across the countries we track. However, in instances where prices have risen, the primary catalyst often appeared to be the new introduction of 5G FWA into those markets.

While it’s understandable that 5G FWA commands a higher price compared to its 4G counterparts, mirroring the pattern seen in standard consumer plans, we anticipate a gradual transition towards 5G FWA adoption. This transition, coupled with heightened competition, is expected to drive an overall trend of price decreases in the FWA market.

Fiber vs. FWA: The Value Equation

While 5G FWA promises faster speeds, the question of cost-effectiveness lingers (and is often overlooked). Our data indicates that, when comparing 5G FWA to fiber connections based on monthly costs against maximum download speeds, fiber generally offers better value, particularly for speeds exceeding 1Gbps. In other words, for the same price, fiber typically delivers faster download speeds compared to FWA. Additionally, factors such as FWA’s slower upload speed and potential data caps should be considered.

Nonetheless, FWA boasts a significant advantage in its extensive coverage, utilizing the mobile network without requiring physical installation up to the household. Thus, FWA can provide a viable broadband connection option, especially in areas where fiber infrastructure is unavailable. Given these considerations, we anticipate a rise in FWA and 5G FWA subscriptions throughout 2024, particularly in rural regions lacking fiber alternatives. This growth is expected to be bolstered by public initiatives aimed at expanding broadband access across diverse populations.

The debate over Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) continues to rage on. Our analysis unveils where fiber holds the edge in value, particularly for high-speed users. However, FWA’s extensive reach presents a significant opportunity for operators to bridge the digital divide and expand their subscriber base, especially in rural areas without fiber infrastructure.


Our forecast for the telecom industry in 2024 reflects a landscape marked by rapid evolution and transformative technologies. From the widespread adoption of eSIM technology to the emergence of comprehensive digital subscription bundles, there are unprecedented opportunities and challenges for operators to navigate. As the industry shifts towards family-centric strategies, streamlined bundled offerings, and enhanced connectivity options, telecom providers must adapt to meet evolving consumer demands while maintaining profitability in a fiercely competitive market.

At Tarifica, we remain at the forefront of industry insights and trends, leveraging our Telecom Pricing Intelligence Platform (TPIP) to provide comprehensive data-driven analysis and strategic guidance to operators worldwide. With TPIP’s unparalleled coverage and advanced capabilities, operators can navigate the complexities of the telecom landscape with confidence, unlocking new opportunities for growth and innovation in this dynamic telecom ecosystem.

About the Authors:

Soichi Nakajima

VP Data and Analysis

With over 20 years of telecommunication market analysis experience, Soichi oversees the data collection, quality, research, analysis, and production of all data projects and quantitative studies.

For questions or comments about this analysis, please contact Penny Wiesman at

Will Watts

VP of Product

Will is responsible for the planning, build-out, and maintenance of Tarifica’s data solutions, including the flagship Digital Intelligence Platforms. In his more than 10 years at Tarifica, he has successfully delivered custom projects and market analyses to clients such as GSMA, the World Bank, BEREC, Verizon and Telefonica.

Vincent Bonneau

International Business Development

With over 20 years of consulting experience in the telecom industry, Vincent leads business development for data collection studies and analytics platform development at Tarifica, working closely with regulators and operators to provide them with adequate pricing data for telecom plans and devices.