T-Mobile poised to pass AT&T in total number of retail stores: Wave7

T-Mobile's Signature store in Times Square, NYC
T-Mobile operates thousands of stores across the country, including in Times Square in New York City. (T-Mobile)

T-Mobile appears set to surpass AT&T in the total number of retail stores the company operates across the country, according to Wave7 Research. The firm noted that AT&T has been closing a handful of stores during the past few months, while T-Mobile has been working to open hundreds of new stores across the country.

“T-Mobile has guided to 5.4K stores at YE17. If this is achieved, T-Mobile may end 2017 with more stores in place than AT&T has,” Wave7 wrote in a recent research report.

An AT&T representative didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

T-Mobile has been extraordinarily vocal about its retail expansion, which has been made possible largely through the 700 MHz and 600 MHz spectrum the carrier has acquired in locations across the country where it previously did not offer service.

“We are making incredible progress opening new T-Mobile stores to go from covering two-thirds of the country to three-thirds of the country,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in July, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. “Last week, we opened our 1,000th new T-Mobile store this year, with 500 more planned by year end. T-Mobile has opened stores now in over 400 new cities and towns this year alone and that’s in addition to the 1,500 MetroPCS stores planned this year, 1,100 of which have been opened to-date. By year end, we will have nearly 17,000 branded locations across the country, where customers can buy T-Mobile or MetroPCS, and that’s just incredible. So, putting all this together, the new spectrum and the work we are doing with our current spectrum set the stage for continued momentum in future growth for T-Mobile.”

Further, in T-Mobile's third-quarter report, the operator said "T-Mobile’s network expansion provides a unique opportunity to grow our distribution footprint by 30 to 40 million POPs from the beginning of 2016 through year-end 2017, bringing our total distribution footprint to 260 to 270 million people." 

Added T-Mobile: "In 2017, we have opened T-Mobile stores in approximately 500 cities and towns where we had not previously had a retail presence."

In its third-quarter report, T-Mobile detailed its retail efforts. Indeed, T-Mobile’s chief of sales and operations, Jon Freier, noted on Twitter yesterday that the carrier has opened a new “signature” store in Las Vegas, just ahead of the start of the Consumer Electronics Show there next week.

“We are not done and I think that’s the most important stuff,” T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert said in July. “But I would acknowledge the team’s ability in this year to put 3,000 new doors in service and our ability to attract and retain, which is what you have realized is tens of thousands of employees is really a great story. We could possibly be the fastest growing retailer in America.”