Sprint posted a modest subscriber gain including its first gain in postpaid subscribers in more than two years.
All four US national operators gained subscribers last quarter:
- AT&T added 289,000 postpaid, 466,000 prepaid and 1.6 million connected device subscribers, but lost 156,000 reseller customers for a total gain of 2.5 million subscribers vs gains of 2.09 million in Q2 2015 and 2.07 million in Q3 2014.
- T-Mobile added 1.1 million postpaid, 595,000 prepaid, and 632,000 wholesale customers for a total gain of 2.31 million customers. That compares with gains of 2.07 million in Q2 2015 and 2.34 million a year ago in Q3 2014.
- Verizon added 1.3 million postpaid but lost 80,000 prepaid customers for a total gain of 1.21 million vs gains of 1.01 million in Q2 2015 and 1.53 million in Q2 2014.
- Sprint added 553,000 postpaid and 866,000 wholesale customers but lost 363,000 prepaid users for a total gain of 1.1 million customers vs gains of 675,000 in Q2 2015 and 590,000 in Q3 2014.
- Verizon made a profit of $4.71 billion last quarter compared with $2.9 billion in Q2 2015 and $3.79 billion in Q3 2014.
- AT&T made $2.99 billion last quarter compared with $3.04 billion in Q2 2015 and $3.13 billion in Q3 2014.
- T-Mobile made $138 million last quarter compared with $361 million in Q2 2015 and a loss of $94 million in Q3 2014.
- Sprint lost $585 million compared a loss of $20 million in Q2 2015 and $765 million in Q3 2014.
- Verizon 130 million*
- AT&T 126.4 million
- T-Mobile 61.2 million
- Sprint 57.87 million
The number of branded prepaid customers increased for the fifth quarter in a row. The gains came from T-Mobile and AT&T as both Verizon and Sprint lost prepaid customers. AT&T credited its Cricket brand for the bulk its prepaid gains. Although Sprint lost 363,000 prepaid customers 199,000 of them were migrations from prepaid to postpaid.
- T-Mobile added 595,000 prepaid subscribers
- AT&T added 466,000
- Verizon lost 80,000
- Sprint lost 363,000
TracFone,which operates the Straight Talk, NET10, Tracfone, Simple Mobile, Page Plus, Total Wireless, Telcel America and SafeLink Wireless MVNO brands, blamed its lack of significant growth on increasing competition. It said that its Straight Talk, Total Wireless and Safelink brands experienced solid growth but legacy brands, including TracFone and NET10 declined. TracFone's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization fell by 33% in Q3 2015 compared with Q3 2014. The company blamed the sharp earnings drop on higher customer acquisition and retention costs.
Total prepaid customers by carrier as of the end of last quarter were:
- Tracfone 25.7 million
- T-Mobile 17.16 million
- Sprint 14.98 million
- AT&T 10.99 million
- Verizon 5.74 million
Sources: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, América Móvil
Second Quarter 2014 Mobile Subscriber Numbers By Operator
Third Quarter 2014 Mobile Subscriber Numbers By Operator
Fourth Quarter 2014 Prepaid Mobile Subscriber Numbers By Operator
First Quarter 2015 Prepaid Mobile Subscriber Numbers By Operator
Second Quarter 2015 Prepaid Mobile Subscriber Numbers By Operator