Survey: 42% of T-Mobile's Q1 new phone activations switched from rivals

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners added its voice to the choir of industry onlookers predicting a big first quarter for T-Mobile.

CIRP said 42 percent of T-Mobile's new phone activations during the first quarter switched from rival operators, while only 18 percent of its base that was at risk of leaving for competitors actually did. The data was gleaned from CIRP's survey of 500 U.S. consumers who activated a new or used phone during the first quarter.

Sprint managed to attract 30 percent of its new activations during the quarter from other operators, according to CIRP's data, although 27 percent of its customers who were at risk of leaving actually switched competitors.

Interestingly, CIRP said less than 0.5 percent of Sprint's new activations during the quarter came from users buying their first phones.

"Once again, T-Mobile showed it can attract significant numbers of new customers, while retaining its current ones," said Josh Lowitz, CIRP partner and co-founder, in prepared remarks. "Sprint also gained a significant percentage of customers relative to its base, but lost almost as many. AT&T and Verizon saw existing customer losses slightly exceed gains, and only with the addition of first-time phone buyers did they grow slightly."

Verizon and AT&T have increasingly focused on luring and retaining lucrative consumers in an effort to shore up their bottom lines. Sprint, meanwhile, continues to struggle, but it posted a solid quarter to close out 2015.

T-Mobile is widely believed to have continued its strong momentum through the first quarter, and analysts at Wells Fargo Securities said last week it will likely be the only major U.S. operator to report growth in postpaid net handset adds during the period. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure seemed to take issue with that forecast, though, responding to a tweet of the story from FierceWireless with the response "Hmmm ??"

Verizon is scheduled to be the first major U.S. operator to post quarterly earnings Thursday.

For more:
- see this CIRP press release

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