T-Mobile overtakes Sprint as #3 smartphone buyer

Earlier this week, Reuters published a report stating that when it comes to smartphone purchasing, T-Mobile was the third biggest carrier in Q1. In terms of smartphones, according to research undertaken by Counterpoint, T-Mobile is now closing in on AT&T, having purchased 6 million smartphones, while Sprint purchased 5 million.

In terms of smartphones sold, T-Mobile sold 6.9 million while Sprint managed under 5M.

Counterpoint also broke down the manufacturer market share for devices sold in the 1st quarter, and interestingly, T-Mobile is the only carrier where Apple didn’t take a commanding share of the available market.

counterpoint-big

Of course, there are plenty of reasons for this. Firstly, T-Mobile sold the original Android phone exclusively: T-Mobile G1 before any other carrier started selling other models by other manufacturers. Also, the iPhone hasn’t been available on T-Mobile for that long. Having only started selling the iPhone 5 just over a year ago.

But, as is the case with every other network operator, Apple and Samsung combined took more market share than all the other manufacturers put together.

While having outsold and and out-purchased Sprint in Q1 is a great sign that things are moving in the right direction, Sprint’s overall subscriber base is still larger than T-Mobile’s. Although, if T-Mo continues to pull in millions of new subscribers every month, and Old Yeller keeps shipping them over, those tables will soon turn.

Via: Reuters, FW

  • Jay J. Blanco

    Amazing T-Mobile samsung market share is larger then S, VZ & T.

    • KlausWillSeeYouNow

      I’m not contributing to that statistic right now, that’s for sure. I’ve never had a Samsung on T-Mo, and the way things are looking it’ll stay that way.

      • Jay J. Blanco

        Yeah I see. Samsung is serious competition

  • Miami South

    woohoo dolphin mall picture!

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    And the great difference between TMO and the other major carriers is that it sells unsubsidized phones, validating this model in the US at last.

  • vinnyjr

    T-Mobile is on a roll. Great news, so many people counted them out, very happy that they are kicking butt. T-Mobile in my area has the fastest download speeds on both LTE and just completely dominates on their HSPA+.. My signal is so strong my HSPA+ averages around 20mb down, 4mb up. My LTE speeds are over 35mb down and 20mb up. These are all daytime speeds and get faster after 6 oclock. I get unlimitted everything including data without throttling. Throw in free tethering and that is a powerful tool that is such a joy to use. Thank You T-Mobile. Congradulations on all your success.

    • sushimane

      Yeah they just needed a good CEO to make decisions then one that didn’t do anything and expect things to work out. I’m proud to see how much t-mobile is grown from previous years before john came in.

    • Stefan Naumowicz

      Nice to hear people praising T-Mobile, but I’m sure your claim of consistently getting 20mbps on h+ is a huge exaggeration – areas that have LTE (like yours) have all had their hspa refarmed into hspa21. Your claiming to consistently hit 95% of the networks’ theoretical maximum output? Yeah right.

      • sushimane

        Naw its true when I had my lg g2x which run hspa+21 and did the speed test I hit a constant 20 download 8 upload but for sum reason with the note 2 I got 15 upload. So its possible even with nexus 5 I’m only getting 18 on h+.

      • ⓜ@®!ⓞ G@®CI@ ™

        Its a actually true I hit 22 Mbps on hspa+ near my job here in California

  • fechhelm

    Do these numbers take in to account phones bought unlocked from other sources. (i.e. direct from Motorola, or Google Play.)

    • kev2684

      ordered/sold by carrier means branded smartphones, so no.

      • Justin Merithew

        Are you sure? If so, why is a portion of T-Mobile’s chart Motorola phones? Tmo hasn’t sold Motorola phones in a few years, but there was a Tmo version of the Moto X that you could buy directly through Motorola.

    • michael

      I would say yes, they would fall under the Others category. I know budget manufacturers like Blu that are make low-high end android 4.2 jellybean phones for prices between $100-$400

  • Bilesha Welton

    It’s sad to see Americans still giving that much power to Apple and Samsung, but this is definitely good for TMO.

    • melisaa

      agree only in the US everyone has an iPhone ,in mexico and spain I been to both since I have family over there people are more open to try a sony or lg phone or Motorola… In mexico lots of people have sony and Motorola in spain it was also sony and htc ,now here in the Us everywhere I go gym,mall,grocery store I see people on there phones and its usually an iPhone were in spain and mexico u go to places like that and u look around and u see a variety of phones some people have sony others htc etc,, and its not because there cheaper a good sony xperia phone or htc phone costs the same as an apple iPhone in mexico or spain so yea…

      • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

        That’s because in the rest of the world non-subsidized phones are the norm, whereas in the US they are the exception. The average American can afford an iPhone as much as the average Mexican or Spaniard. IOW, they cannot afford it if it weren’t for subsidies, which is a kind of tax on the mathematically challenged that the public school system seems so prolific in producing.

        • qpinto

          americans can afford their phones but why would you buy a phone outright if it didnt work with another carrier? it wasnt until recently that tmobile would switch their bands over to standard gsm bands, and one phone was being made for all american carriers for the most part. soon enough every phone will work on every carrier and unlocked phones will be the norm. i cant wait actually

        • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

          Most TMO phones have always been at least quad-band GSM and tri-band UMTS so that they could roam in ATT’s network as well. As of late, most are unlocked and quad and penta-band phones, which can be used anywhere in the world on 3G. ATT is moving towards unlocked and non-subsidized phones as well.

          S and VZW use CDMA and locking is a whole other issue with that standard. It was designed to lock customers in and one of the reasons that it’s widespread only in N. America. I don’t expect either S or VZW to change their stance anytime soon.

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          Before the revolution, you had to pay the same amount of money monthly whether the phone was bought outright or subsidized… I think that’s the bigger reason people went for subsidies

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          A lot of people realize the savings they are missing out on, but opt for a contract because they don’t want to pay the large sum of money required for a phone, and would rather pay a little more if it means it can be spread out over time

        • maximus1901

          And the rest of the world SalesTax is astronomically higher. Check the apple UK iPhone prices.

    • drzfr3shboialex

      HTC needs more love.

      • John Greenhaw

        Generally I’d agree with you, but my M8 is on it’s second replacement in a month. I’ve never had this kind of luck with Samsung.

        • Well yeah but….

          I went through 3 Fascinates and two Galaxy Nexus devices before getting one that worked. My Nexus 10 has had wonky WiFi since 4 months after purchase. Samsung ain’t all roses here either.

          That said, I am *very* tempted to buy a SIM adapter kit and throw the M8 nano into my M7. The M8 is just a scoche too big and it is downright buggy. They dropped the ball on this device, IMO.

  • Nearmsp

    Couple of points to note:

    1. T-mobile’s profit has nose dived because it is spending a lot more than revenue to increase market share. Owners do that to plump up the goose prior to selling it. T-mobile’s stock has gone in opposite direction of its profit because it is a take over target and short term investors expect to make some quick money.
    2. Apple’s failed strategy to make exclusive deals with wireless companies means that because they took their own sweet time, T-mobile users became enamored with Samsung/Android and Apple will remain a poor second unless – it increases screen size AND provides Wi-Fi calling plus swype text input feature.

    • Serge

      While DT does want to sell T-Mobile that does not mean they are just plumping up the goose. Getting scale is essential in the telecom business. T-Mobile have been spending 3.5-4.5 billion dollars annually on network upgrade, way more than they spent on customer acquisition. Once the major upgrades are finished they will reduce capital expenditures by 1-1.5 billion. That will let T-Mobile make about 1 billion in net income.

      • maximus1901

        If they want scale they can do lte network sharing with sprint and each synchronize the lte bands so that all TMO sprint phones would have:
        25, 26, 41 (Tdd), 4, 12.
        There’s the scale.

        • maximus1901

          But they don’t simply want scale. They want less competition. If anyone ever says that this proposed merger is only about scale and merging is the only way to make it happen they’re lying. Network sharing is not new; 3 UK and EE are doing it.

        • Serge

          I mean economic scale. More customers provide more revenue, more EBITDA, more money for capex (network upgrades, spectrum, backhaul). Right now T-Mobile’s network is as good (or as bad) as they can afford. Most of the money they earn goes towards network improvements. And spending never ends. Next year they will need to buy 600 MHz spectrum. Then they will have to deploy it. Then they will need to keep on deploying microcells. Merger would help but they also need to plan for the future without a merger. They have to grow with or without a merger.

    • gadget_hero

      It has been rumored as T-Mobile got the iPhone late in the cycle of development for iOS 7, that WiFi calling will be addressed in iOS 8. As far as profit, remember that T-Mobile is front loading the costs for ETF, as well as other incentives. Once they get past that they should have pretty clear cash flow, not to mention they are spending a lot on capital investment (rolling LTE out to Edge only sites, as well as beefing up LTE to 2x20MHz deployments for “Wide-Band LTE.” Its not always a consipiracy. What is more troubling is Sprint has dramatically cut capital expenditures and they still have substantial work to complete Network Vision.

      • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

        That’s because in the rest of the world non-subsidized phones are the norm, whereas in the US they are the exception. The average American can afford an iPhone as much as the average Mexican or Spaniard. IOW, they cannot afford it if it weren’t for subsidies, which is a kind of tax on the mathematically challenged that the public school system seems so prolific in producing.

        • gadget_hero

          I was was addressing specifically how T-Mobile’s profits will bounce back once the front loaded costs are paid. It would be interesting to see if the iPhone sells as well as more and more users move to separate device financing (i.e. JUMP!, EDGE, NEXT, etc) or of less expensive phones start to take market share from Apple & Samsung.

        • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

          Sorry, I meant to reply to another post.

      • UMA_Fan

        Any link to speculation that iOS 8 will support WiFi Calling?

      • maximus1901

        Who NEEDs wifi calling? Tmus and sprint. Every other carrier in the world either has low band spectrum or is in a high pop density country where deploying wcdma 1900 or 2100 was cost effective to deploy at a high enough density to reach inside ALL buildings. I don’t think apple cares about wifi calling. Or if they do, they won’t for a long time. I mean look how long it takes them to increase the screen size and that’s something that’s actually hurting them. 99% of consumer don’t care or haven’t heard of wifi calling. Not gonna happen this year for sure.

        • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

          Erm… no. The rest of the world is mostly stuck with LTE at 1800 and 2600MHz and the buildings are built more solidly than in the US. Reception inside buildings sucks the world over.

        • maximus1901

          Europe uses 2100 for wcdma. And it’s so high pop density that telecoms can afford to build at high enough density.

          1800 is used for gsm and us reframed for band 3 lte.

        • Durandal_1707

          I switched to T-Mobile after using both Verizon and AT&T. Both of them have trouble working inside lots of buildings in my area, partially because it’s right next to a large body of water and partly because carriers are constrained in where they can put towers because of NIMBY complaints from annoying Luddites. T-Mobile has the same trouble, although oddly enough there are lots of buildings where T-Mo works and AT&T doesn’t (or didn’t when I used them, at least). Part of the reason I switched to T-Mo was the Wi-Fi calling. So, having low-band spectrum isn’t a silver bullet. There’s still inevitably going to be some places that don’t get a signal, or get a weak one.

    • UMA_Fan

      Really dumb comment. The things you do to a business to make it attractive to sell and just simply make it a successful business are the exact same thing. Tmobiles financial records clearly show if they added slightly less customers they would have posted a profit. They are literally exploding with customer growth that no one saw coming.

      In fact there’s more to show DT is NOT interested in selling just to sell. For example, they didn’t NEED to hire John Legere. They didn’t NEED to purchase MetroPCS. They didn’t NEED to purchase low band spectrum from Verizon for 2 billion dollars. They didn’t need to invest in new tech like HD Voice and VoLTE. They could have saved serious cash by avoiding a lot of these ESPECIALLY the Verizon spectrum purchase. They could have easily just said they were waiting for the 600mhz auction. Seems like they’re in it for the long haul to me.

      • maximus1901

        They’re making sure they have options. Doesn’t mean they don’t want to sell. Every public comment by DT and all tmus execs indicates they do want to sell

        • UMA_Fan

          All companies HAVE to say they are open to acquisitions because it could possibly upset investors who might pull money out of a company they think is not doing everything they can to give them the most return on their investment. Have you seriously not noticed how stock in both Sprint and TMUS soar whenever one of these reports come out?

        • maximus1901

          Don’t get too attached to tmus as an independent company. A democratic member of fcc pondered aloud that maybe sprint should be allowed to buy tmus. 2 repubs + 1 dem = majority. And doj has to actually prove in court that a monopoly-type situation would occur and they’ve lost before; see doj vs oracle.
          And even if “the uncarrier brand is retained” the resulting company would kill off unlimited data likity split. How do I know this for sure? Months ago, maybe before Legere even, TMO announced that their unlimited plan wasn’t really unlimited. Then they realized how stupid that was and brought back truly unlimited. Note this was when sprint still HAD a truly unlimited plan. So what do you think they’re gonna do when there’s only vzw and att to compete with? Bye bye bye unlimited. Legere and tmus is not providing unlimited out of the goodness of their hearts; they NEEEED it to survive. Otherwise they’d eliminate it like they tried doing awhile back.

      • Durandal_1707

        Literally exploding? That’s bad. I hope the people in Bellevue were evacuated safely.

  • Serge

    That orange slice in the T-Mobile pie is Motorola, right? Are they counting Moto X and Moto G sales? I don’t think Moto X for T-Mobile sold that well and counting Moto G wouldn’t be right as it can be activated on T-Mobile or AT&T network.

    • Guest

      tmobile doesn’t sell motorola.

      • Serge

        That’s my point. Why Motorola is in their pie chart?

  • Justin

    What the heck is the 9% magenta slice in T-Mobile’s pie?

    • Thomas

      My guess would be the Tmobile phones such as the mytouch, prism , etc.

      • Justin

        Those are Huawei

        • Thomas

          Oh, I didn’t know that. The slice is probably in magenta since tmobile doesn’t really market them as Huawei phones.

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          Maybe Alcatel? Hauwei has their own color, can’t be them

    • KingCobra

      That’s Huawei

      • Guest

        Huawei is the burgandy

        • notyourbusiness

          You mean red.

    • Stefan Naumowicz

      I’m thinking Alcatel, every other company is accounted for or too insignificant to account for 9% of sales. (Sony, ZTE, etc.) Alcatel makes the sparq/sparq 2 and the very popular one touch series.

      • eanfoso

        It looks like it’s nokia

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          Nokia is already listed as blue

  • mingkee

    No Sony?????

    • qpinto

      they only have 2 sony phones, the xperia Z and the zperia Z1s (plastic instead of metal sony z1) currently

      • kalel33

        How many does HTC have?

        • qpinto

          HTC has 2 phones, the HTC one (M7 and HTC one M8)

        • kalel33

          That was my point. Sony has the same number of phones on T-mobile and doesn’t make a blip on the radar.

        • qpinto

          However sony is only on T-Mobile while HTC is on all the other carriers as well. It wouldn’t make sense to include Sony when comparing across carriers

    • Jay Holm

      Sony lacks ambition! If Sony had true ambittion their Z2 flagship would be available on all 4 national carriers.

  • Alex Zapata

    This is definitely welcome news.

  • maximus1901

    Anyone checkout atts new cricket prices? Better than TMO’s for non unlimited data.
    4 lines, 2.5 gb full speed, $120.

    • eanfoso

      $140 actually, but yes still much more worth it than t-mobile

      • maximus1901

        Nope $120. If you do the autopay option, price is $5/month/line less. And your group discount is:
        $(0 + 10 + 20 + 30) = $60

        • eanfoso

          You sure about this?! I was already planning on switching once my BlackBerry scam credit ran out, but if it’s the 120$ a month then there’s no reason for anyone to stay with t-ghetto, I love magenta, but I hate to not be able to use my phone when I’m inside big buildings (where I work and school) dang thanks for doing this research man!

        • maximus1901

          It’s on their site

        • eanfoso

          But can you combine offers though? Wouldn’t it just be 5$ off from the whole account?

        • maximus1901

          Prices listed are per line. $50 for 2.5gb and $45 for autopay.
          Per line

        • eanfoso

          So the family package is still better for those of us who have more than one line, and what you’re saying is that we can’t combine offers, right?

        • maximus1901

          I don’t work for cricket lol. Call and ask. But my guess is that you can combine the offers.

        • maximus1901

          I’m addicted to TMO’s unlimited data. But WHEN they remove unlimited, explicitly or effectively, I’m gone to cricket.

        • Jason

          If you already have unlimited it’s very unlikely for you to ever lose it….
          Even Verizon grandfathers data plan addons

        • Medion

          True, but grandfathered data plans tend to get throttled eventually. Both Sprint and Verizon claim to throttle heavy users during periods of congestion, which both claim to be around their top 5% of users. AT&T started throttling at 3GB on unlimited plans about a year or so ago (before that, it was ambiguous when they’d throttle).

          So grandfathered unlimited has its limits. But I think we’re at least two years off before T-Mobile starts the practice, if at all. Realistically, I suspect they’ll continue to introduce new tiers as they raise the cost of unlimited. Example:

          2013:
          $0 = 500MB
          $10 = 2.5GB
          $20 = unlimited

          2014:
          $0 = 1GB
          $10 = 3GB
          $20 = 5GB
          $30 = unlimited

          2015?:
          $0 = 1.5GB
          $10 = 4GB
          $20 = 6GB
          $30 = 7.5GB
          $40 = unlimited

          The 2013 and 2014 plans are/were real. I’m using 2015 as an example of the intent that I see behind T-Mobile’s changes, but we’ll see. I can’t really declare a full-blown trend behind one pricing change.

    • Crockit

      Good luck with those data speeds.

      • maximus1901

        What will you do that takes more than 8mbps?

        • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

          It’s 8Mbps on LTE. Where the signal is weaker or there’s but 3G coverage, the limit is then 4Mbps. Not that both aren’t still pretty decent and, additionally, one is more likely to get a strong signal with ATT than with TMO.

        • maximus1901

          If att-cricket add device financing with this, I think TMO is toast.

        • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

          Or, better yet, TMO ups the ante. I only wonder then how far either can go before bleeding to death.

        • Jose

          Wasn’t tmo’s last quarter the first quarter that tmo’s actually lost money for a decent amount of quarters?
          If Sprint can survive bleeding since the Nextel buyout, I’m sure TMo and ATT could survive 5 times longer.

        • Jason

          att and others already have device financing, tmobiles still moving right along…
          Besides how exactly do you see a prepaid carrier implementing device financing?

        • Jason

          Netflix streaming would be better or any hd video source, downloads would be faster….etc etc
          Are you trying state that 8mbs is superior than say 16mbs?
          Just because it’s sufficent by no means does that make it ideal….

        • Medion

          No Netflix mobile stream uses near 8mbps. Their 1080p streams cap at around 5.5mbps for the PS3/PS4 and other set top boxes. And Netflix has a buffer limit as well, so again, higher bandwidth is not needed.
          No one said that 8mbps was superior to 16mbps. All that he was saying is that speeds over 8mbps on a mobile device will not be noticed by anyone other than those using Ookla’s speedtest app.

        • Jason

          Are you saying if I’m watching netflix while downloading files, my apps running in background updating and i’m wifi sharing, one wouldn’t notice?
          Netflix will studder if im watching a movie and have files downloading at the same time….
          Call me crazy but I notice the difference in web browsing between the 2 speeds….

        • Medion

          Android doesn’t download a whole lot in the background. And when it does, 8mbps is more than enough bandwidth with Netflix in the foreground. First, the foreground application gets bandwidth allocation priority, so background task would only be given what’s left over. And at 8mbps, there’s plenty left over as Netflix mobile streams are typically 1.5-2.5mbps (if that). The vast majority of mobile devices, even those with 1080p displays, will not run Netflix at 1080p. And again, even if they did, that tops off at about 5.5mbps.

          As far as web browsing goes, latency will have a more noticeable impact than bandwidth. A 2mbps 20ms connection will drastically outperform a 10mbps 100ms connection for general web browsing.

        • Jason

          So att/cricket has 20ms latency?
          We can shoot out numbers all day long but if it’s not relevant what’s the point?

          One should assume that since the cap is at 8mbs that most likely you won’t achieve 8mbs consistently….
          It may also be safe to assume that ATT customers get network priority over crickets subs….

          So now your talking 6.5-7.5 on average with easily a ping time of 100+ms, idk i’d rather have an uncapped connection for a few bucks more that also had network priority :)

          Wifi sharing still a factor
          Speed and time is also been ignored in your reply….

          I did state speed was sufficent but if your going to use a smartphone do you really want your network to be your bottleneck?

    • KingCobra

      Data speeds are capped at 8mbps and the pings are pretty high.

      It’s decent for light users I suppose.

      • maximus1901

        And people who want service inside buildings.

        • KingCobra

          Then perhaps you should switch to them then. I get great coverage in the buildings on T-Mobile in my area. Ironically, Verizon is the one with terrible in building coverage here.

        • maximus1901

          If TMO gets rid of unlimited, I will definitely take my 4 lines to cricket.

        • Dakota

          eventually they will like everyone else …first it will start with the top users like every other carrier does…sprint just started throttling the heaviest users too

        • Medion

          You must be in Seattle. I’m on 2nd and Madison and I pull in 15-40mbps depending on the time of day. I have Verizon and AT&T users tethering off my phone sometimes.

        • JMF_mobile

          I agree. I work in downtown Des Moines, IA and even though my Verizon buddies supposedly have LTE coverage their network is so saturated they’re lucky to get 1 Mbps on it.

      • http://www.bestmvno.com/ Bestmvno.com

        Correct. Capped at 8mbps for LTE, and 4mbps for HSPA+. So definitely not running at “full speed.”

    • Dakota

      amazingly for singles, straight talk just actually increased their data limits at the same price of $45. You now get 3gb with unlimited talk and text (and throttled after that). They have LTE on ATT but I think Tmobile is still HSPA only. Ive had their LTE and its quite the bargain with a Nexus5

      • maximus1901

        Straight talk is a deceptive company.

      • maximus1901

        Straight talk is a piece of sht company. Even with them finally spelling out how much full speed data you get, I’ve read they still have a daily throttling threshold.
        I’ll take $45 for 2.5gb on art cricket over 3gb on lying slims company.

      • Medion

        ST w/TMO will do LTE on only on nano sim. That pretty much leaves the iPhone 5, 5s, 5x, and Moto X. However, you can get a sim tray adapter and use it on other phones.

  • http://www.mnatives.com/ pramod kumar

    Cell phone is become very common used things, every person have know how about common info, advanced featured should be included. history review is fine

    • $15454173

      Thanks for sharing :)

    • Medion

      WUT U SAY?!

  • Dakota

    still can’t understand how sprint has more customers than tmobile when all i hear about in the press is how crappy sprint’s network is.

    • Stefan Naumowicz

      They are losing customers rapidly. Can’t expect every customer to up and leave all at once

    • Loganopolis Jammyjamjamjam Bop

      because everyones got that cousin that swears tmo service is crap even though they had them three years ago and theres no way service can improve! amirite? perception> reality.

  • Thorn

    Be careful with Straight Talk, they have been known to mess up payments and even lose customer phone numbers. Aio will be a threat to T-mobile, but hey competition is what drives innovation, but also it will hurt ATT with customers off contract. I say bring on the challenge.

    • Jason

      AIO has been rebranded as Cricket and I believe prices went up…. FYI

  • Jason

    Anybody figure out how Motorola has a percentage that seems impossible?

    • http://twitter.com/tabascotx Mike Roberson

      Yeah for real. The Last Moto phone sold by T-Mobile was the Cliq 2. That being said,yes,i know people bring their own phones. Wouldn’t think the percentage would be that high for people bringing their own Moto phones though.

      • Jason

        Article clearly states devices sold via TMobile and not BYOD….
        Estimating the moto pie slice i’d say it’s like 3.5% which roughly be 200,000 motorola phones sold in 1 quarter…. HOW????

  • Barbara Williams

    I have Verizon and AT&T users tethering off my phone sometimes.

  • RamblinE

    Do the Tmobile figures in the graph include MetroPCS sales figures?

  • bob90210

    I can’t stand Apple either. I hate how Apple forces people at gun point to buy their products.

    Oh no, zombie Steve Jobs is coming towards me!