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BLU’s Verizon Deal Will See Smartphone Maker Increase 4G Share, Positions it for 5G Future

by Ken Hyers | Jan 04, 2019

Smartphone maker BLU announced today that its Vivo XI and XI+ smartphones have been certified by Verizon and will be available through Verizon’s Bring your Own Device Promotion. Consumers activating the phones on Verizon’s network will receive a $150 rebate in the form of a prepaid MasterCard.

BLU Vivo XI & Vivo XI+

Verizon’s decision comes as US carriers look for alternative entry and mid-tier smartphones to replace those provided by ZTE, whose share collapsed spectacularly in mid-2018. BLU has historically been an important player in the unlocked market segment in the USA, where it currently sits in second place, holding about a fifth of the market in terms of volume share.

As a result of its new relationship with Verizon, BLU is now poised to enter the mainstream carrier smartphone market. BLU has an impressive line-up of value-priced 4G LTE smartphones. The new relationship re-positions BLU at a tier-1 carrier (with more to come possibly), and comes at ZTE’s expense.

While 5G is now the most talked about smartphone technology, 4G LTE will remain the primary smartphone technology in the USA for many years. By building a relationship with Verizon, BLU will gain 4G share in 2019 in the USA. In future years (2020/21) it will be able to leverage that position to enter the 5G market.

The BLU-Verizon link-up is a big deal for BLU and has the potential to bring new customers to Verizon too, via BYOD. It also holds the potential to make BLU a new lower-cost 5G vendor in coming years.

Clients of Strategy Analytics’ Device Technology practice can access in-depth research on the US and global 4G and 5G smartphone markets here. Clients of our Wireless Smartphone Strategies practice can access research about vendor volumes, value and software here.

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