Grading the top 8 U.S. wireless carriers in the fourth quarter of 2014

The following charts the top U.S. wireless carriers in the fourth quarter of 2014 by subscriber base, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, and includes major metrics--such as churn, ARPU and revenue--of each carrier.

The subscriber figures include both retail and wholesale customers.

This list does not include resellers or MVNOs such as TracFone. (To see how TracFone did in the fourth quarter, click here.)

And don't forget to see how these figures stack up against the fourth quarter of 2010, the first quarter of 2011, the second quarter of 2011, the third quarter of 2011, the fourth quarter of 2011, the first quarter of 2012, the second quarter of 2012, the third quarter of 2012, the fourth quarter of 2012, the first quarter of 2013,  the second quarter of 2013, the third quarter of 2013, the fourth quarter of 2013, the first quarter of 2014, the second quarter of 2014 and the third quarter of 2014.

(And you also might want to check out our wrap-up of the wireless industry in the fourth quarter of 2014.)

In 2013, T-Mobile assumed control of MetroPCS and Sprint assumed control of Clearwire, then in 2014 AT&T closed its acquisition of Leap Wireless. Also, Cincinnati Bell announced its intention to get out of the wireless business, and is no longer on this list. Finally, Shentel has been added to this list as nTelos exits its Eastern markets.

As the fourth-quarter reporting season comes to a close, it's time to start parsing the information to see which carriers slipped and which managed to get ahead.


Top US Wireless Carrier Metrics Q4 2014 (ranking by subscribers, retail + wholesale)
Subscribers (millions)
Net Adds (millions)
Churn                  (Avg Monthly)
Data % of Service Revenue
1 Verizon Wireless* 131.894 3.097 1.36% 52.5%  $54.15
2 AT&T 120.554 1.905 1.59% 54.0%  $42.04
3 Sprint** 55.496 0.882 2.89% n/a  $48.03
4 T-Mobile US 55.018 2.128 3.12% 54.0%  $43.50
5 US Cellular 4.760 0.086 2.01% n/a  $60.10
6 C Spire*** n/a        
7 Ntelos 0.449 -0.008 3.57% 48.9%  $52.35
8 Shentel 0.433 0.010 2.61% n/a  $50.98
Subscribers include retail and wholesale connections of both traditional and new connected device categories (e.g. M2M)
*Verizon Wireless subscribers include Strategy Analtyics' estimates for wholesale and connected device volumes
**Sprint subscribers and net adds excluding estimated number of affiliate subscribers, but including wholesale; service revenues excluding wholesale and affiliate
***C-Spire is a private company and does not reveal its metrics, estimated to have c. 1.0 million subscribers
Source: Strategy Analytics, based on carrier reports


Grading the top 8 U.S. wireless carriers in the fourth quarter of 2014

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