Grading the top 10 U.S. carriers in the fourth quarter of 2011

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The following charts the top U.S. wireless carriers in the fourth quarter of 2011 by subscriber base, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, and includes major metrics--such as churn, ARPU and revenue--of each carrier.

The subscriber figures include both retail and wholesale customers.

This list does not include resellers or MVNOs such as TracFone. (To see how TracFone did in the fourth quarter, click here.)

And don't forget to see how these figures stack up against the the fourth quarter of 2010, the first quarter of 2011, the second quarter of 2011 and the third quarter of 2011.

(And you also might want to check out our wrap-up of the wireless industry in the fourth quarter of 2011, our fourth quarter global handset and smartphone market in four charts, and ABI's take on the global fourth quarter handset market.)

As the fourth-quarter reporting season comes to a close, it's time to start parsing the information to see which carriers slipped and which managed to get ahead.

Top US Wireless Carrier Metrics Q4 2011 (ranking by subscribers, retail + wholesale)
  Carrier Subscribers (millions) Net Adds (millions) Churn (Avg Monthly) Service Revenue (US$ millions) Data % of Service Revenue ARPU
1 Verizon Wireless 108.667 0.969 1.23% $15,106 41.6%  $53.14
2 AT&T 103.247 2.497 1.39% $14,347 41.0% $47.04
3 Sprint Nextel* 54.721 1.612 2.50% $6,936 n/a $48.71
4 T-Mobile USA 33.185 -0.526 4.00% $4,565 31.2% $45.49
5 Clearwire** 10.414 0.873 3.03% $362 100.0% $12.08
6 MetroPCS 9.347 0.197 3.70% $1,134 n/a $40.55
7 US Cellular 5.891 -0.041 1.96% $1,030 n/a $58.13
8 Leap Wireless 5.934 0.179 3.90% $729 n/a $42.09
9 Cellular South*** n/a          
10 ATN 0.582 -0.010 3.25% $134 n/a $48.46
11 Cincinnati Bell 0.459 -0.013 3.84% $60 32.7% $43.37
12 Ntelos 0.415 0.000 3.38% $99 35.7% $48.57

Subscribers include retail and wholesale connections of both traditional and new connected device categories (e.g. M2M)
*Sprint Nextel subscribers and net adds excluding estimated number of affiliate subscribers, but including wholesale; service revenues excluding wholesale and affiliate
**Clearwire subscribers and net adds include wholesale subs outside current 4G network coverage area, but from whom Clearwire receives nominal revenue. 
***Cellular South is a private company and does not reveal its metrics, estimated to have 0.9-1.0 million subscribers.
Source: Strategy Analytics, based on carrier reports