AT&T customers held onto their current phones much longer, which is why they were unable to make a significant impact with its hardware sales. Not to mention, the company's rivals started putting out competitive unlimited data plan deals that attractive a lot of people. And although AT&T is considered as the number two wireless carrier in the US, it may lose this position if things continue and the company does not keep up.
Based on the figures, the company lost a total of 191,000 postpaid subscribers between January and March of this year. Despite this, it still is not as much as the 289,000 postpaid subscribers Verizon Wireless lost in the same quarter. On the other hand, its two biggest competitors brought in more postpaid subscribers: 798,000 for T-Mobile and 100,000 for Sprint.
Much of the struggle can be attributed to the demand of the customers for data. Since both T-Mobile and Sprint launched its new unlimited deals, customers flocked to these offers right away. And even though AT&T reduced its own prices, many of the customers felt that it wasn't as competitive as the ones offered by its competition. During the earnings call, Chief Executive Randall Stephenson admitted that their response to the series of unlimited data plans released by the other carriers took slower than recommended. The executive noted that the carrier lost market share this quarter.
But if prepaid subscribers are to be accounted for, AT&T added a total of 738,000 postpaid and prepaid customers onto their network. Even though the carrier lost some subscribers, the numbers are roughly the same as the what they added back in Q1 2016. Today, the carrier is serving 134.2 million customers throughout the US.
As a whole, the carrier's operating revenue reduced by 3 percent. Most of this can be traced back to the low phone sales of the company, which is considered the lowest in history. Because of how significant these numbers are, the company announced that they will no longer be giving full-year revenue forecasts.
But all is not bad for AT&T as it is currently involved in an acquisition deal with Time Warner worth $85.4 billion. With this acquisition, the carrier would be given the ability to control certain channels like CNN and HBO. This deal is said to be signed and completed by the end of this year. Apart from this, AT&T has expressed its plans to roll out 5G networks. Hopefully, its blazing fast speeds will be enough to win back the customers they lost this quarter and maybe even gain more.