The two main disruptors in 2015 will be Sprint and T-Mobile, as they are specifically targeting AT&T and Verizon's postpaid bases. There may be shifts throughout the year and of course volatility is expected when the next iPhone version is introduced. For 2015 carrier competition remains healthy.
U.S. Cellular capped 2014 with a strong performance in the fourth quarter. The company managed to grow its postpaid customer base in 2014, the first time it has been able to do so since 2009.
The fourth-quarter earnings season is coming to a close, so now it's time to see how the nation's top wireless carriers stacked up against each other in terms of key metrics. Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson has assembled these slides that provide an in-depth look at how Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint and T-Mobile US performed in the fourth quarter. Dawson's research covers relatively standard metrics including revenue growth and net adds, but also includes deep dives into prepaid vs. postpaid performance, subscriber acquisitions vs. losses, and more. Special Report
T-Mobile US CEO John Legere essentially said that T-Mobile has already passed Sprint in terms of subscribers if inactive Sprint MVNO customers are taken out of Sprint's subscriber count.
T-Mobile US is open to working with Dish Network as the satellite TV company ponders its wireless options now that Dish is flush with even more spectrum following the AWS-3 auction, according to T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
T-Mobile US CEO John Legere has made one of his missions in 2015 to have his company pass Sprint in terms of total subscribers, to became the nation's No. 3 carrier. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure indicated that if that happens, it won't be a big deal.
AT&T Mobility beat analysts' expectations in terms of subscriber growth for the fourth quarter, but saw churn rise amid intensifying competition. AT&T also saw its margins drop in the quarter, as had been expected.
Sprint wholesale partner nTelos Wireless struck a deal to sell up to 103 of its cell towers for $41 million to an affiliate of Grain Management, a private equity firm focused on investments in the media and communications sectors. The deal represents most of the towers that nTelos still owned and comes less than two months after nTelos announced plans to sell off its spectrum and its retail business in markets in eastern Virginia.
With a somewhat bumpy fourth-quarter reporting season expected for the Tier 1 wireless carriers, analysts at Jefferies are hoping for more "rational" pricing behavior from the large operators in 2015.
The continued subscriber momentum at T-Mobile, coupled with solid expected results from Verizon Wireless AT&T Mobility could mean that Sprint struggled in the fourth-quarter to win many net postpaid subscribers, according to financial analysts.