América Móvil's U.S. MVNO, TracFone Wireless, returned to a brisk pace of subscriber growth in the fourth quarter of 2013 after growth stalled in the third quarter. However, the company was unable to meet the subscriber growth it showed in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Poor Americans are driving the mobile-only trend, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
América Móvil's U.S. MVNO, TracFone Wireless, reported just 5,00 net subscriber additions in the third quarter, compared to 302,000 in the year-ago period. The carrier's figures also come on top of its 192,000 net subscriber losses in the second quarter, which were pinned on a company-wide effort within the parent firm to shut off the service of inactive users.
In its ongoing effort to clean the Lifeline program of waste and fraud, the FCC came down hard on five carriers that use the service, including TracFone Wireless, and proposed around $14.4 million in fines against the companies accused of breaking the commission's rules. The Lifeline program helps provide wireless service to low-income Americans.
América Móvil's U.S. MVNO TracFone Wireless brought some clarity to its data throttling policies for its Straight Talk and Net10 brands, explaining that it will throttle subscribers down to 2G speeds after they use 2.5 GB of data.
América Móvil's U.S. MVNO TracFone Wireless recently launched its new "Trac 'N' Save" digital coupon and wallet program, which the company said provides "the best deals, discounts and promotions from trusted partners" to its roughly 23 million customers.
In the second quarter of 2013, the industry grew by 335,000 subscribers, which is the lowest subscriber-add number this millennium. A significant reason for the low growth is that approximately 1 million Lifeline connections had to be disconnected because the carriers were unable to verify eligibility. The industry make-up also changed considerably in Q2.
Net10, a brand of América Móvil's U.S. MVNO TracFone Wireless, is bringing back unlimited data plans to customers who use a SIM card for AT&T Mobility's network, a TracFone spokesman confirmed to FierceWirless.
The following charts the top U.S. wireless carriers in the second quarter of 2013 by subscriber base, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, and includes major metrics--such as churn, ARPU and revenue--of each carrier.
América Móvil's U.S. MVNO TracFone Wireless and Walmart, which sells TracFone's Straight Talk brand, were sued in a proposed class action lawsuit in federal court in California, with the plaintiffs alleging that the companies falsely advertise Straight Talk as providing unlimited data service when the plans actually throttle users' speeds.