AT&T Mobility reported better-than-expected postpaid subscribers in the first quarter, adding 441,000 new subscribers. In addition the company reported churn of just 1.02 percent, which it said was the best it had ever reported in a first quarter.
Although Verizon Wireless reported improving margins, the carrier added fewer postpaid customers in the period than many financial analysts had expected. The company also lost 3G smartphone and prepaid customers in the quarter. In the past, Verizon executives have said they are willing to part with such customers and not get bogged down in a price war to retain them.
T-Mobile US is likely going to best Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and Sprint in terms of handset subscriber additions in the first quarter, according to a new report from financial analysts at Wells Fargo. However, the other carriers likely will continue to make strides in tablets. Additionally, the analysts are looking for a more detailed outlook for the rest of the year from Sprint, especially on its capital expenditure plans.
Sprint has made a lot of news recently about plans to expand its distribution and even bring phones directly to customers. It's all part of an effort to retain the company's customer base and drum up more sales in the hopes of growing net subscriber additions. However, unless Sprint clarifies its brand message and improves its 2.5 GHz LTE network, I fear it will not amount to much.
As the first-quarter earnings season draws near, one of the big questions is whether T-Mobile US will officially surpass Sprint in terms of total subscribers to become the No. 3 U.S. carrier. It's one of several interesting questions that will be worth watching for as the carriers hold their quarterly earnings conference calls.
Sprint continues to argue that even if T-Mobile US officially passes it in terms of total subscribers to take the mantle of the No. 3 U.S. carrier it won't have a material impact on Sprint's business or strategy.
ATLANTA-- AT&T Mobility's Ralph de la Vega says he isn't sweating the competition too much. De la Vega, CEO of AT&T's Mobile & Business Solutions Group, said the carrier takes what its competitors do seriously, including aggressive moves by T-Mobile US and Sprint, but is comfortable with its place in the industry and is confident it is ahead of other carriers on connected cars, homes and the Internet of Things.
T-Mobile US and AT&T Mobility are likely to be the winners in the first-quarter race to score new subscribers and hold onto existing ones, as churn becomes a key area of focus in the industry, according to a research report from analysts at investment bank Jefferies.
In an effort to lure more new customers and regain market share, Sprint said it will reimburse all of the costs for a customer to switch over, including their Early Termination Fees and any remaining payments on equipment installment plans, no matter what customers owe.
AT&T Mobility expects to add around 400,000 postpaid customers in the first quarter, which would be a weaker performance than the year-ago period and below analysts' expectations--but the carrier also expects to see its postpaid churn improve. Financial analysts predicted the company's improved churn figures would be offset by weaker wireless margins.