Verizon Wireless is likely going to lead the pack in terms of postpaid net subscriber additions in the third quarter, according to a research note from financial analysts at Jefferies. However, the analysts expect AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile US to also perform well, though they expect Sprint will continue to struggle to gain traction with its new plans and promotions.
T-Mobile US added 760,000 branded net customers in the month of August, which was its best month ever in terms of postpaid net adds, according to CEO John Legere. The brash and outspoken T-Mobile chief said that while the company is open to a deal with another player to gain more scale, it has a great deal of momentum already.
Now that a deal between T-Mobile US and Sprint is dead, T-Mobile CEO John Legere is taking the gloves off and repeated his prediction that T-Mobile will surpass Sprint in terms of subscribers to become the No. 3 U.S. carrier by the end of this year.
U.S. Cellular aims to have an LTE roaming agreement in place by the end of 2014, according to CEO Ken Meyers. Meanwhile, although the carrier continued to lose customers in the second quarter, it dramatically cut its churn from the first quarter.
T-Mobile US said it added 1.47 million total net new subscribers in the second quarter, including 908,000 branded postpaid net adds. While T-Mobile didn't report quite as many postpaid net adds in the period as Verizon Wireless, it did have more total new subscriber additions and it showed strong growth in phone subscriber additions. T-Mobile also said it now expects to add between 3 million and 3.5 million branded postpaid net subscribers in 2014, up from its previous estimate between 2.8 million and 3.3 million.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse confirmed on the company's second-quarter earnings conference call that the carrier is trialing new rates plans in certain markets to determine if it should introduce more competitive pricing nationwide.
AT&T Mobility added more than 1 million net postpaid subscribers in the second quarter, its best performance in the postpaid market in nearly five years. In contrast to rival Verizon Wireless, which reported second-quarter earnings Tuesday and had tablets make up the bulk of its postpaid adds, the vast majority of AT&T's postpaid adds came from smartphones in the second quarter.
Sprint is likely going to report brutal subscriber losses in the second quarter, according to financial analysts. That will be largely the result of Sprint's 3G CDMA network upgrade, which has temporarily resulted in degraded service as the carrier works to improve coverage, call quality and network speeds. In response, the analysts said, Sprint will likely cut prices in the near term to remain competitive.
Verizon Wireless surged back to subscriber growth in the second quarter, though the vast majority of its roughly 1.4 million new subscribers in the period purchased tablets, not phones.
During an appearance on CNBC, Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam said the company will report "over 1.4 million" postpaid net customer additions in the second quarter. That's way up from the 941,000 postpaid customers Verizon added in the second quarter of last year.