Sprint is growing again, adding 1M new connections

T-Mobile tried valiantly but it didn’t overtake Sprint as No. 3 U.S. mobile carrier in 2014. Sprint actually had a great holiday season, adding 967,000 net new mobile subscriptions to its network in its fiscal third quarter ending December 31.

Like [company]T-Mobile[/company], [company]Sprint[/company] reported its subscriber numbers ahead of its official earnings next month, and the new growth should put Sprint at 56 million total connections, 1 million more than T-Mobile. Sprint actually began its turnaround over the summer when Marcelo Claure took over from ousted CEO Dan Hesse. Claure launched a series of plan changes, new programs and discounts designed to make Sprint competitive again, including its most recent “cut your bill in half” promotion.

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In Sprint’s fiscal Q2, Sprint added 464,000 net new subscriptions, but all of that growth came from wholesale connections from its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) customers. Those customers bring a fraction of the revenue of a full retail subscriber on a Sprint plan.

In the most recent quarter, wholesale was still a big driver, accounting for half of new connections, but Sprint saw growth across the board, including 30,000 net new postpaid customers. That’s not a huge number, but considering Sprint has been shedding these valuable postpaid customers for years, any growth in the segment is a positive. Sprint also added 410,000 new prepaid customers on its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile brands.