T-Mobile USA makes a Q3 comeback

T-Mobile USA made a comeback in the third quarter, adding 773,000 new postpaid customers, a 52 percent improvement from the second quarter. Churn, however, didn't look good. The operator posted a postpaid churn rate of 2.3 percent per month, while competitors Verizon and Cingular reported 0.95 percent and 1.5 percent respectively. But analysts were pleased that 80 percent of T-Mobile's new postpaid customers in the third quarter chose two-year contracts.

John Byrne, analyst with Technology Business Research, noted that T-Mobile has by far and away the most messaging-centric customers in the industry. Total SMS and MMS volume increased by 25 percent sequentially to nearly 10 billion. That number almost matches Cingular's total message volume, and T-Mobile has a customer base that is 40 percent smaller than Cingular's. TBR estimates T-Mobile USA customers sent or received approximately 135 messages per month in Q3, compared to 90 per Verizon Wireless customer and 60 per Cingular customer. Another interesting fact: The company added 172,000 new Sidekick or Blackberry customers in the third quarter to end the quarter with 1.4 million converged device customers. 

The introduction of the Blackberry Pearl in September also provided a boost to third quarter results and is likely to help the company maintain strong converged device customer growth in the fourth quarter, said Byrne.  

For more about T-Mobile USA's results: 
- read this release

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