It might seem odd to hear Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam say “I can’t tell you 10 years from now what at top line revenue is going to look like for Verizon,” that is a practical observation about what his firm has encountered in the past, and what it can expect for the indefinite future. You might assume such statements are hyperbole, or simply figures of speech. They tend not to be.
In fact, Verizon and other mobile operators have literally had to shift revenue models at least every decade.
Early on, the mobile operator business model is quite simple: add more subscribers. In other words, what drives revenue growth is getting additional accounts.
At some point, that changes. Once nearly every potential customer has a subscription, growth has to be driven by additional products. Text messaging provides the best example. Mobile internet access provides another example. It is virtually certain that other successive waves of products will arise to drive further growth, as all the legacy services dwindle.