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.
AT&T Mobility forecasted sharply higher postpaid subscriber additions for the second quarter than it had in the year-ago period, and also said it expects more customers than ever before to buy smartphones via its Next handset upgrade program.
Verizon Wireless will continue to respond to pricing changes in the market but is not going to go overboard in terms of a response, according to Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo.
For the first time ever, Verizon Wireless in the first quarter recorded a net loss of handset subscribers. During a quarter when AT&T Mobility netted 176,000 new phone subscribers and T-Mobile US posted a whopping 1.256 million new phone subscribers, the analysts at New Street Research pointed out that Verizon lost 156,000 phone subscribers. Although Verizon managed to juice its first quarter net additions into positive territory with tablets and other devices, the carrier nonetheless suffered a serious setback. What's perhaps more concerning is that Verizon executives don't appear to be worried.
U.S. Cellular in the first quarter continued to lose postpaid customers, but the carrier insisted that it is making progress in reducing churn and getting over the billing system errors that plagued it during the second half of 2013.
T-Mobile US continued its surging momentum in the first quarter, recording its best ever quarter in terms of branded postpaid subscriber additions largely on the back of the offering the carrier launched in January to pay off the Early Termination Fees of customers who switched over from other carriers.
Verizon Wireless reported weaker subscriber growth for the first quarter on a year-over-year basis and its postpaid customer additions in the period were driven by the addition of tablet customers.