The top 5 wireless ads: AT&T maintains lead in TV spending across the mobile industry

FierceWireless has partnered with TV advertising measurement firm to bring you a monthly snapshot of the wireless industry's advertising spending and digital engagement. The results below are for the top five biggest spenders among wireless industry brands in May.

The wireless industry spent an estimated $170.7 million, a decline from April's estimated $217.2 million. AT&T continued its months-long reign as top spender, while MetroPCS jumped into the top 5 with 8.8 percent of the TV spend. A total of 16 brands ran 96 spots 38,928 times which resulted in over 8.8 billion TV ad impressions.

Check out how these figures compare with February, March and April.

Here are the top 5 ads for May in terms of total spending:

1. AT&T spent an estimated $34.9 million, resulting in 20.5 percent of the industry's TV ad spend. The company had 7,301 airings of 18 spots and spent heavily on CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox. The top ad, "Horoscope," aired 445 times and had an estimated TV spend of $10.6 million. In all, AT&T had 1.9 billion TV ad impressions.

2. T-Mobile continued to hold second place, spending an estimated $32 million on 19 spots that aired 5,996 times for a total of nearly 1.5 billion TV ad impressions. Its top ad was "Data Story," which aired 2,408 times and received 843 million impressions. This commercial had $17.6 million in estimated TV spend, almost half of T-Mobile's total spend for the month. Overall, T-Mobile spent the most on ads that aired during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, Fear the Walking Dead and NBA Basketball. 

3. Verizon maintained its third place position with an estimated TV spend of $25.9 million, 15.2 percent of the industry's total. The brand had 9 spots that ran 5,640 times, with its most aired ad, "A Better Network Explained by 30 Rock," airing 1,181 times with an estimated spend of $4.2 million. This commercial appeared the most frequently on NBA TV, FUSE and MTV2. In total, Verizon's ads received 1.1 billion TV ad impressions in May.

4. Sprint aired 12 spots 6,527 times for an estimated $24.1 million, which resulted in nearly 1.3 billion TV ad impressions. It spent an estimated $8 million on an ad called "The Mission," which ran 1,292 times for 331 million total impressions. The commercial aired the most often during NASCAR racing. Overall, Sprint spent the most on ads running on NBC, Fox, ABC and AMC.

5. MetroPCS knocked Cricket Wireless out of the top five this month by running 6 ads 3,942 times with an estimated TV spend of $15 million. The company spent an estimated $7.2 million on "Say "Bye-Bye" to Sprint," a commercial that garnered about 463.6 million TV impressions and ran most frequently on NBA GameTime and SportsCenter. In all, MetroPCS had over 850 million total TV ad impressions. 

iSpot's data does not include co-promotions or local market data. Click here for more on's methodology.

The company's software leverages proprietary audio and video fingerprinting algorithms to automatically identify and extract TV commercials, movie trailers and show promos.  

The company tracks hundreds of millions of explicit interactions with TV ads across roughly 100 million unique consumersThese interactions include video plays, searches and social activity. The company also analyzes online views across YouTube and, searches on Google, Bing and Yahoo! and social activity on Facebook (including Facebook private views) and Twitter.

The company tags over 40 different dimensions of metadata, including brand, agency, actors, products, songs, moods, URLs and other pertinent data, to create its results.

The top 5 wireless ads: AT&T maintains lead in TV spending across the mobile industry