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Second Quarter 2014 Mobile Subscriber Numbers By Operator



The second quarter of 2014 was a pretty good one for US mobile operators. All four national carriers made a profit last quarter and all but Sprint added subscribers.
  • T-Mobile added 1.5 million total subscribers, post paid and prepaid combined 
  • Verizon added 1.4 million 
  • AT&T added 634 thousand 
  • Sprint lost 334 thousand customers 
In terms of total subscribers AT&T is still the largest and T-Mobile the smallest. But if trends continue, Sprint could be passed by T-Mobile in a couple more quarters. Here's how the operators ranked by total subscribers at the end of the quarter:
  • AT&T 116.6 million
  • Verizon 104.6 million*
  • Sprint 54.6 million
  • T-Mobile 50.5
*Verizon doesn't report wholesale and M2M subscribers numbers. Industry analysts estimate that Verizon has approximately 124 million total subscribers, including wholesale and M2M connections.

The number of prepaid customers actually declined for the first time in years. The carriers have been tweaking their postpaid plans by eliminating contracts and device subsidies to make them more appear more attractive and it seems to be working with only T-Mobile adding prepaid subscribers
  • T-Mobile added 102 thousand prepaid subscribers
  • Verizon lost 14 thousand
  • AT&T shed 405 thousand 
  • Sprint dropped 542 thousand prepaid subs
América Móvil's Tracfone subsidiary, which operates under the Straight Talk, NET10, Tracfone, Simple Mobile, Page Plus, Telcel America and SafeLink Wireless brands, and is by far the largest prepaid MVNO gained a meager 8 thousand subscribers last quarter.

Total prepaid customers by carrier as of the end of last quarter were:
  • Tracfone 25.5 million 
  • Sprint 14.7 million
  • T-Mobile 14.7 million
  • AT&T 11.3 million
  • Verizon 6 million
I expect T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon to continue to grow. Verizon recently added LTE to their prepaid offerings and is aggressively cutting the price of prepaid smartphones so I expect they will see a growth in prepaid this quarter. Sprint seems to be flailing, because of network issues and non-competitive pricing. Sprint's still incomplete Network Vision upgrades have actually made service worse in many markets. Most of Sprint's prepaid plans seem overpriced given the network's small footprint with no roaming combined with performance issues as well as the lack of bring your own phone options.

Sources: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, América Móvil

21 comments:

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  1. Poor Sprint, they never recovered from the ill fated Nextel merger.

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    1. Dude what?, Sprint had so many chances to recover and they blew it all 200 million miles away. Their biggest mistake was wasting money and going for Wimax. As of right now Softbank is literally throwing money at T-mobile to finish the merge and hope the government will allow it. It's hard to say what will happen if T-mobile accepts the offer and the government steps in and decides. Sprint is going die no matter what they do right now. A year or two ago i would say T-mobile and Sprint had no shot at reaching Verizon and At&t subscribers. It's a new day and things are working out good for T-mobile and their uncarrier plans. Sprint isn't doing crap other than "Trying" to improve there coverage. They're not doing any PR stunts or changing up things that customers would like to hear cause if anyone has been with sprint the past 2-3 years, hearing only "We're improving our coverage" is a full on lie. As for the government stepping in after a decision is reached between the both company's, only time will tell what will happen but whatever the outcome is, it can't possibly be good for anyone. If the Merger fails Sprint is screwed and within the next 5 years if nothing is changed with their company they are done hasta la vista. That wont be good for customers because once again theirs a possibility that there will only be 3 major carriers in the future. If the merge goes through, again there will only be 3 major carriers and as we are all expecting if the company's merge it will be under Tmobile terms, plans etc. Verizon and At&t are also screwed because they would have a hotshot growing competitor lol, there's really no win here at all IMO.

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    2. T-Mobile has a longggggggg way to go. Verizon and at&t are and will be the big boys for a long time to come.

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  2. Post paid is cheaper in a lot of situations, plus actual customer support. I was just thinking why a family would do prepaid when post paid has better/cheaper options.

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    1. I don't quite know where you are getting your information from. For most applications, prepaid sees more savings.

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    2. nah nah nah postpaid ain't cheaper

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    3. Verizon post paid would be $130 before taxes, with taxes about $156 (I live in a very high taxed city and state), and that's with only 2GB data.

      Verizon prepaid would be $100, no taxes and since I go through Callingmart.com, I get an automatic 4% discount plus once a month an additional 7% discount (via code discount), so it would be $89 for 2 smartphones with the same amount of data. Difference of $67/month or $804/yr or in case of the 2 yr agreement that most people do, $1608/2 yrs.

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  3. Sprint is going to have to lower their prices soon to prevent the futher hemorrhaging of customers.

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  4. Everybody doesn't need a family plan. Most of the time only one family member is paying the bill anyway.

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    1. Family plans are cheaper,no doubt about it .plus all the perks that go along with it.

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    2. blah blah blah family plans

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  5. Wow, Great summary of the mobile subscriber landscape. However, I always thought Verizon was hands down the largest mobile telco in the country. It's odd that Verizon isn't, even if by a small margin, considering how vast voice service seems to be for Verizon.

    Personally I sometimes recommend T-mobile and AT&T (postpaid and prepaid) if I'm ever asked, bc my friends know I'm up to speed with info in the space. And I usually always tell people to avoid Sprint like the plague bc they operate a CDMA network for voice and if you need to replace a phone you're screwed, or if data is important, your stuck on the slow lane. My first cellphone was with sprint and since I left them more than a decade ago I've never regretted that decision. Seem like T-Mobile are the most attentive companies to customers. While Sprint is just a strange mess. If Sprint an T-Mobile what could result is 50/50 pure fail or something great consumer. Seems risky. What do you think Dennis?

    p.s. You run one of my favorite blogs. Thanks for all the work.

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  6. The Japanese people are not stupid. Is gonna take some time but it will workout for Sprint. Whether they stay alone or mergin with TM. Remember that Sprint has the most spectrum of all carriers, that's what matter people, it just takes time and dealing with city permits isn't easy. Sprint I'd backed up by a billionaire, they can afford all the time and upgrades. Also Sprint is going to grab some of that 600MHz and everything will change.

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  7. Sprint has more unused Spectrum than any other carrier. Instead of wasting time and money trying to merge with T-Mobile, Sprint should build out their spectrum.

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  8. It has been years since Sprint prepaid offered competitive pricing.

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  9. I live how people leave out the $500 phone subsidy when comparing pre/post paid.

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  10. Yeah, you may get that $500 "subsidy" on Post-Paid/Contract thus rendering your TOP-OF-LINE smartphone to about $199...BUT... If you stretch out the payments on that 2 Year Contract that you're required to sign ( for that "subsidy), you will UNAMBIVALENTLY see that you will be paying ( on average) $300+ MORE than on 2 Years on PREPAID (... and that's with paying FULL PRICE for a Top-Of-The-Line Smartphone on PREPAID)... All you have to do is the very basic, simple MATH!

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    1. $199 doesn't matter, you could pick an $800 phone or a .01cent phone. the $500 is all that matters.

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  11. business owners have lost confidence in their products and management policies.
    The representative from California is dedicated only to close stores is the only work that goes well.
    lost three stores boost (the representative cancel the contract because we were doing many activations and activations were suspected of fraud ... jajjaa) and turn them into tmobile and multicarrier .... and earns much more and much more for sale because they are more sencillas.la goal for all other companies to sell and sell.
    is easier to work with tmobile, tracfone, verizon, etc ... the representatives are normal. Thanks tmobile, telcel america, simple mobile, page plus, verizon prepaid, Lycamobile, ultra mobile, tracfone, Metro pcs, h20, cricket etc ... etc. .. thanks!

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  12. Dennis this is some great info. Keep up the good work. I love your site.

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