T-Mobile Super Bowl ad entreats us to “Save The Data”

T-Mobile is using a Super Bowl ad to push its new Data Stash program, which lets users rollover unused megabytes from month to month, and last night it gave a sneak peak of the 30-second spot on YouTube.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTwzsV3I3OQ&w=560&h=315]

The tongue-in-cheek commercial plays on the the public service announcement, with Kim Kardashian West alerting viewers that “each month millions of unused gigs are taken back by wireless carriers.” All of that unused data could have been put to use viewing selfies of Kim Kardashian West, she said.

Many of the mobile carriers use the Super Bowl as a way to show off new ad campaigns, so [company]T-Mobile[/company]’s may not be the only new mobile commercial we see. We might even seen competing ads for rollover data programs. [company]AT&T[/company] launched its own data banking program this week to compete with Data Stash.

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.

AT&T strikes back at T-Mobile with its own data rollover plan

T-Mobile’s Data Stash, which lets you carry over unused megabytes from one month to the next, has only been lived seven days, but AT&T has already come up with a counter plan. It announced its own data rollover program on Wednesday that will allow customers on its shared plans to save their leftover data at the end of each billing cycle.

Rollover Data launches on January 25, and it will automatically apply to all customers on AT&T’s Mobile Share Value plans. But as always with programs like these, there is a big caveat. [company]AT&T[/company] won’t let you keep banking the same data month after month. You have to use it up in the next billing cycle or lose it. Here’s how AT&T explains it:

If you have four lines and have a 15GB AT&T Mobile Share Value Plan and only use 10GB in a given month, you’ll roll over 5GB and have a total of 20GB available to use within the next month.  If you were to only use 10GB in the second month, you’ll again roll over 5GB and have a total of 20GB available the next month. Bottom line: if you have unused plan data this month, it automatically rolls over to be used within the next month in case you need more than your plan’s allotment. This gives you that extra data to do the things you love across all your devices, like surfing the web, watching videos, listening to your favorite music or sending email.

[company]T-Mobile[/company]’s Data Stash lets you keep banking data for a full year after you accrue it (think of your saved megabytes as frequent flier miles that expire after a year). But T-Mobile’s program has its own caveats, the biggest one being that it’s only available to individual line subscribers with a postpaid data plan of 3GB or more. Also, for some strange reason, you can’t actually start rolling data over on Data Stash until you use up an initial 10GB of free data with which T-Mobile is seeding all of its eligible customers’ accounts.

Each program has its pros and cons. AT&T’s Data Rollover is available at any level of shared plan so you can carry over data even on the lowliest 300 MB plan. That data can be used by any device attached to that plan. Data Stash, on the other hand, is restricted to heavier-use individual plans. But because of AT&T’s Data Rollover’s mechanics, you can’t cram big piles of gigabytes under the mattress. Meanwhile, T-Mobile’s plans let you truly bank big chunks of data for a rainy day.

What’s most interesting, though, is how quickly AT&T responded to T-Mobile’s new Uncarrier policy. T-Mobile isn’t even getting a month to test the waters before AT&T’s rival rollover plan goes into effect. AT&T was fast to follow T-Mobile’s phone upgrade program Jump as well, announcing its Next upgrade plans just a week later.

It’s clear that AT&T views T-Mobile’s Uncarrier strategy as a big threat if left unchecked, but AT&T also seems ready to swing at everything T-Mobile throws at it.

T-Mobile grew by 8.3M subscribers in 2014

T-Mobile’s customer growth spurt continued into the normally busy holiday season in 2014 as it added 2.1 million new connections to its ranks. It wasn’t T-Mobile’s best quarter of the year for subscriber growth – that would be its blockbuster Q1 – but it was a good way to cap off a very successful year.

Off the back of its evolving Uncarrier strategy, T-Mobile recruited 8.3 million net new subscribers to its ranks, the carrier revealed Wednesday ahead of its official earnings next announcement next month. In a single year T-Mobile grew its customer base by 18 percent, giving it a connection total of 55 million. At the end of Q3, Sprint had 55 million subscribers as well, so if Sprint continued its customer loss streak in Q4, T-Mobile will have assumed the mantle of the country’s third largest carrier.

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T-Mobile’s gains weren’t all due to Uncarrier, though. It added 1.3 million net new postpaid customers and 266,000 net new prepaid subscribers in the quarter, but the remaining 586,000 links were comprised of wholesale connections from mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) like Ultra Mobile, Straight Talk and Target’s Brightspot, as well as from machine to machine connections linking the internet of things. Sprint used to be king of MVNOs, but T-Mobile has become much more aggressive in attracting virtual operator customers as of late.

Sprint drops prices, doubles data on Boost prepaid plans

Without the distraction of a pending merger, Sprint is now focused on the competition. One of its prepaid arms, Boost Mobile, is cutting its monthly prices by $5 per plan while simultaneously increasing data caps.