AT&T’s former mobility CEO: Expect U.S. carriers to diversify and bundle more services

Glenn Lurie is the new CEO of Synchronoss. (Synchronoss)

As AT&T’s former Mobility Chief Glenn Lurie begins his new job at Synchronoss Technologies, he said the wireless pure-play is on its way out.

“I do think, long term, you’re going to see less single-play players and more double- and triple-play players, and more bundling,” Lurie told FierceWireless. “Because without question the customer expectation is going to change, and it is changing. Their expectation is around having everything on their device, having their video on the device, being able to do the things around social on the device. So, I just think that for carriers to continue to grow, they’re going to have to diversify. And that will continue to happen long term—and that’s not just in the U.S. I think that’s globally.”

Lurie’s predictions about the wireless industry carry a significant amount of weight: Lurie stepped down roughly two months ago from his role as president and CEO of AT&T Mobility Consumer Operations, where he gained prestige at the carrier by negotiating with Apple to secure its original, exclusive deal for the iPhone. This week he announced he is joining Synchronoss as the company’s new CEO.

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So now, untethered from his role at AT&T, how does Lurie view the wireless carrier market? “It’s still ultracompetitive, that’s the good news, and I don’t see that changing,” he said.

Lurie also offered some general comments on the strategies of each of the nation’s four largest wireless carriers. “You’ve got the four carriers in different places,” he said, and his assessment of AT&T was relatively unsurprising.

“AT&T has been very specific about where they’re headed,” he said, pointing to the carrier’s acquisition of DirecTV and its work to bundle content with services. “They’re doing well with it,” he explained, adding that he still “bleeds blue” and remains friendly with his former AT&T colleagues.

“For Verizon: Similar,” he said. “Verizon is a very respected carrier, always done well, very consistent with what they do … They’ve placed some bets around the media world, placed some bets with their acquisitions as well.”

T-Mobile? “T-Mobile has done incredibly well, and deserves the kudos and respect about what they’ve been able to do. They’ve been disruptive and it’s been working for them,” Lurie said. “Obviously also Sprint has done well in how Marcelo [Claure, Sprint’s CEO] has gone about bringing them back.”

Concluded Lurie: “What you’ve got is a really competitive marketplace and really different strategies from the carriers, and what’s exciting about that is that it’s going to continue to morph.”

And Lurie also said his view of the U.S. wireless marketplace informed his decision to move to Synchronoss, which sells cloud, messaging and other “digital transformation” products.

“Everywhere around the globe, telecom providers, media players, technology, it’s all coming together—and that environment, if you’re part of the ecosystem supporting it, is a really, really good place to be,” Lurie said. “And so they [Synchronoss] are dead in the middle of that,” he noted, adding that he plans to expand Synchronoss’ operations and sales.