T-Mobile had its best quarter ever, growing by 2.4 million subscribers. Most significantly, it captured most of the core phone subscriber growth in the industry. Uncarrier is working, but T-Mobile’s losses are also mounting.
T-Mobile’s bigger competitors combined lost phone subscribers in Q1. That could translate into big growth for T-Mobile when it reports its earnings on Thursday.
Though Sprint’s new friends and family plan gained nearly 3 million subscribers, it posted net losses of nearly 400,000 subscribers in Q1. Framily may be Sprint’s future, but it’s not yet having the impact it wants.
Though Verizon had a big quarter for tablet connections, it actually lost feature phone and basic smartphone subscribers in Q1. Those customers are likely going to T-Mobile and arch-rival AT&T.
AT&T’s Next isn’t just proving popular with customers. It’s proving popular with its accountants. The move away from subsidized phones gives it a new equipment revenue stream while keeping its newly contract-free customers loyal.
Sprint lost another 771,000 Nextel iDEN subscribers as customers, offsetting all of the gains Sprint made in its CDMA business. It sold 5 million smartphones, and activated 1.5 million iPhones.
AT&T set a new Q1 record for smartphone sales and connected 365,000 tablets. It saw its prepaid customers fall away, but recorded an overall net subscriber gain of 291,000.
Prepaid mobile giant TracFone had a massive quarter, adding 839,000 subscribers and even beating out Verizon Wireless. TracFone didn’t say why, but not coincidentally its Straight Talk brand and partner Walmart began selling the iPhone 5.
Verizon’s generated some impressive activation numbers in the normally slow first quarter: 5.9 million LTE devices; 7.2 million smartphones; and 4 million new iPhones, half of which were the LTE-capable iPhone 5.
Sprint’s unlimited data offers plans seem to as a big draw as it had hoped when it comes to selling the iPhone. Sprint sold 1.5 million iPhones in the first quarter, compared to the 3.2 million Verizon and 4.3 million AT&T activated in the same period.