T-Mobile now #1 prepaid carrier, overtakes Sprint

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T-Mobile today announced that it is now the biggest prepaid carrier in the States. It’s now ahead of Sprint, Verizon and AT&T. With a customer base of 15.64 million subscribers it’s 0.55 million ahead of Sprint in the prepaid market. AT&T and Verizon are both some way behind on 11.34 million and 6.04 million respectively.

“The good news just keeps on coming for T-Mobile,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile US, Inc. “The momentum we’re seeing with our T-Mobile and MetroPCS brands is outstanding, and the fact that we’ve blown by everyone to take the No.1 spot in prepaid is icing on the cake. As a matter of fact, I’m going on recordI predict we’ll overtake Sprint in total customers by the end of this year. Not someday. Not next year. Thisyear. Americans are voting with their feet, and they’re joining this Un-carrier revolution by the millions.”

MetroPCS is driving the success, having added 1.2 million customers since 12 months ago, an average rate of 1 customer every 27 seconds. This growth was helped by its expansion to 45 major metro areas, and nearly 10,000 stores since the company merged with T-Mobile. MetroPCS now has over 10 million customers.

It’s good to see T-Mo finding success in both postpaid and prepaid markets, and long may it continue.

Source: T-Mobile

 

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  • Bryan Pizzuti

    Wow, Legere’s laying down the smack. Let’s see if he can deliver.

    • Verizonthunder

      He already is what are you talking about

      • Bryan Pizzuti

        No he already isn’t. They’re on the path to it, but they haven’t surpassed Sprint yet. And I think based on current numbers it was estimated that T-Mobile would take the number 3 spot somewhere around H1 2015.

        It would be nice to see that moved up, but it’ll take quite a bit of work.

        • Verizonthunder

          Name a CEO in the carrier business that single hand do a massive overhaul in rebuilding and regaining in the millions returning consumers and new to the business. Also keep there word with transparency that shows.

        • Silly Fanboy

          single handed? so John L was building towers, selling phones by his lonesome?

        • Verizonthunder

          He sold the brand as whole and layout details for building a new and better relationship with the consumers from a tainted past. His name is synonymous with this company when you think T-Mobile now you think motivation, determination and transparency who cares about the quality of service for others.

        • Silly Fanboy Pt 2

          So he did it all by himself? You didn’t answer the question

        • donnybee

          Wow, that was the most educated response ever.

          He means single-handedly as in: where were these plans before he arrived? Oh yeah, nobody else could come up with an out-of-the-box overhaul and orchestrate it so precisely in phases that generated interest and kept that momentum.

          The difference between crappy/slumpy T-Mobile and new fresh viable T-Mobile is John Legere.

          Of course he didn’t build towers hahaha ..don’t be so concrete

  • Oliver Jackson

    This is welcoming news indeed.People I know ask me about TMobile all the time and I highly recommend it to go. They been making major moves since 2011 and it hasnt stopped.

    • Joseph

      I totally agree. I always recommend TMobile to Freinds and family and Co workers and it’s plain and simple nothing beats TMobile,s pre-paid plan.

  • taron19119

    The iphone 6 is going to bring 1 million new customers alone to t-mobile

    • haru280

      the note 4 will do even more

      • Willie D

        The Note 4 is not going to move anywhere remotely close to anything Apple can move. Even the outdated iPhone 4S will likely still move more than the Note 4.

        • conservative_motorcyclist

          Don’t forget iOS 8 includes Wi-Fi calling for T-Mobile!

      • Verizonthunder

        Hey regardless of what device anyone prefers if T-Mobile carries the device it’s more business.

        • Paul

          True story.

        • donnybee

          Agreed

  • Mike Palomba

    Great to see Tmo overtake Sprint in pre-paid and soon we’ll see them overtake Sprint in postpaid. Its about time. John is doing everything right

  • MagentaSlaysAll

    Legere has a point, don’t underestimate the power of this guy. T Mobile has changed the mobile industry in a way never seen before. At&t and Verizon aren’t doing much because they seem to not be threatened by T Mobile but under the surface, they fear that if this continues Magenta will exceedingly grow large in a few years.

    • Willie D

      AT&T and Verizon are not doing much for two reasons. 1. They know majority of their postpaid customers arent leaving due to coverage. AT&T and Verizon customers, consistently tell me “They have coverage, and when I had T-Mobile it sucked” – but they clearly have not revisited T-Mobile in the last few years cause I now get coverage where I didnt before. So these customers are living off the fear of, “Why change, I get what I want on AT&T/Verizon anyway.” Similar mentality to not voting for change “…because they are just going to do what they want, so why bother..” type of thinking, “Why leave, cause I get what I want even though I pay more anyway, they all screw you over in the end” when it simply is not true. AND 2. Postpaid customers is what keeps AT&T and Verizon strong, thats where the shareholders are looking, so losing prepaid, which are generally high churn and fickle non-upgrading customers not looking to spend higher ARPU really isnt something they care about. In fact, they are more happy to see them go, cause thats less investment spent on that sector for customer care, tech support, marketing, etc. Let another company make $20 off them, where AT&T and Verizon court the bigger spenders that are willing to drop $80-100. These two reasons are why the Duopoly dont make big moves or care. They are like banks, too big to fail. Once T-Mobile gets remotely close, they likely will do more, after all their networks will have been paid off in full meaning they can do whatever they like, even undercut T-Mobile, who may still be paying off these network upgrades. Lord knows Sprint is going to be paying off Apple and network upgrade bills until 2025.

      • conservative_motorcyclist

        This post reminds me of an old saying….

        Sell one necktie for one-million dollars, become a millionaire…sell one-million neckties for one dollar and become a millionaire…

        Which one is more likely to happen first?

        I think it reflects a little on T-Mobile’s strategy…if they can maintain their current quality while adding millions of customers, the lower ARPU doesn’t matter because they are making it up in volume.

        • maximus1901

          Except like the poster said, TMO coverage sucks compared to duo. TMO has 233mil on lte vs 290mil att vs 303mil vzw. Furthermore, even on TMO’s 233mil, you’ll lose lte going into buildings; my sisters 5s does so all the time.

        • taron19119

          T-mobile all ready has a fix for this problem and we’re just waiting on the first phones that has band 12 and u will never lose LTE indoors

        • maximus1901

          Except:
          1) no current phone has b12. “Buy another phone” is not what TMO customers want to hear.
          2) all sprint smartphones being sold now by sprint HAVE b26 hardware so except for the areas within 100km of Mexico, Canada border they’re all gonna get 800lte WITHOUT having to buy a new phone

        • taron19119

          One the 2 biggest phones of the yeah will have band 12 and t-mobile is going to use band 2 for LTE so individual coverage will improve

        • maximus1901

          AWS is 1700 uplink, 2100 downlink
          Pcs is 1900 for both.
          Why would coverage improve?
          Sprint is using 1900 for lte. Ask a sprint iPhone 5 user about indoor lte coverage.

          Even if i6 uses b12, that doesn’t address the fact that millions of TMO customers will not have b12.

          But wait there’s more! TMO only has b12 spectrum for 153mil pops and they’re negotiating for an additional 8mil for a whopping 163mil. Other 3 have ubiquitous low band lte spectrum

          But wait there’s more! Ch51 exclusion areas. Kudos to TMO for – according to q2 PDF report – clearing out 5 ch51 areas early. But there’s no guarantee they’re gonna be able to clear out the rest do quickly. I hope so

        • taron19119

          First t-mobile purchase more 700 megahertz block spectrum second when hspa+ was being used on the aws bands I had little to no indoor coverage once they moved hspa+ to the pc’s 1900 megahertz band I started getting hspa+ all over the place in my house so 1900 megahertz block does make an improvement when it comes to indoor coverage

        • maximus1901

          Indoor improved because TMO upgraded to using remote radio heads and this also coincided with the 1900 refarming. If you test again with a AWS-only phone inside your house, you’ll have coverage.

        • taron19119

          okay explain to me why my g1 and g2 both AWS own HSPA plus phones is getting edge all over the house majority of the time in 2014 but my non LTE s3 A PCs 1900 megahertz hspa+ phone is getting hspa+ all over my house

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          G1 and G2 are older phones which have lower transmission power radios and don’t support technologies such as MIMO which T-Mobile implements to overcome the poor signal penetration of higher bands.

          Also, if you have LTE on the same site, they are no longer broadcasting hspa on aws because its been repurposed for LTE, and hspa was moved to PCS. If your s3 is getting hspa on PCS that’s probably what’s going on, I’m fairly certain hspa is only on PCS in areas where LTE has been rolled out. Could be wrong though

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          No it doesn’t. Aws is actually slightly better than pcs at signal propagation because the uplink band is slightly lower at 1700 MHz, and the uplink signal quality is the bottleneck of cell to site transmission. Your experience of better signal quality after the band transition was most likely attributed to them increasing tower density in your area simultaneous with the refarm and LTE rollout and/or an upgrade to the cell site equipment

        • calvin200

          Why would you use the IPhone 5 as an example for Sprint indoor coverage? It doesn’t even have the 800 spectrum? My spark moved me from barely getting LTE in my house to getting it all the time.

        • maximus1901

          Other poster said lte b2 would solve coverage problems.

        • calvin200

          I just need to clarify so we are not taking past each other. Are you referring or the person you are referencing talking about our second “band” the one that receives the 800 frequency?

        • espie

          Ohhhhh I get it. Someone here loves sprint. The more crap spewed the more TMO gets it right. :)

        • maximus1901

          I states facts about TMO and sprint spectrum position.

        • niftydl

          In specific regions and only with new devices – no go. T-Mobile desperately needs low bands across all major markets to be taken serious. WiFi calling is not a replacement for proper building penetration.

        • taron19119

          T Mobile has purchased more 700 megahertz block Bantul spectrum Anne is in the negotiations to purchase more

        • maximus1901

          Which brings their total to 161mil pops. They need to just purchase the rest that’s owned by speculators.

        • taron19119

          T-mobile is working on getting more 700mz band 12 spectrum

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          Really comes down to individual situations and needs. I rarely have anything other than stellar LTE service. at work, which is a big concrete warehouse I get perfect signal while VZW and att get mediocre service and sprint gets nothing to 1 bar 3g. At home, I get perfect LTE again while my girlfriend (AT&T) gets poor service. LTE in all the stores/malls etc around town I frequent. I don’t travel very often, but when I do I still get excellent signal 99% of the time. If your “T-Mobile coverage sucks” was the popular opinion of them, they wouldn’t be gaining 1-2 million subs every quarter while keeping churn under 2%

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          It’s not that simple of a math problem unfortunately. There are alot of variable costs carriers endure that increase with subscriber count, such as spectrum purchasing and implementation to maintain an efficient bandwidth:subscriber ratio, and personnel (customer service, tech support, etc) hiring to satisfy customer support demand to name a few. This makes a large group of lower paying subscribers less profitable than a smaller group of higher paying subscribers if each groups total revenue is the same, because the overhead will be higher on the larger, lower paying group.

      • Aaron C

        Fear is a BIG reason I stayed with Verizon for 12 years. But after being butt-hurt by constant fees, higher service charges than everyone else, and long contracts to get phones, as soon as T-Mobile offered Uncarrier 1.0 (no contracts) I decided to take a chance. Paid my ETFs, bought Nexus 4’s for the family, and I was done. We couldn’t be happier. In my area though, even though we have lightning fast coverage, convincing people to leave AT&T and Verizon for T-Mo has been a slog. The memories of awful coverage and awful customer service are still too recent.

        My friend called me the other day — his phone broke and AT&T wants to snag him for a 2-year contract on an upgrade, but the plan change means raising his rates as well. He doesn’t travel outside the NY metro area (which is the ONLY consideration I give people when switching — if you travel a lot, stick with AT&T and Verizon), but he’s still hemming and hawing.

        It’s amazing how many people still allow themselves to be financially raked over the coals by AT&T and Verizon, even when the coverage is top-notch for anywhere they usually go. But yeah, the memories are still there. T-Mobile still has a little damage control to do. Rolling out that 700Mhz spectrum quickly will help a lot.

        • Mike

          I travel pretty extensively and had Sprint for 12 years. Apart from weird dead zones and the reluctance of Sprint phones to roam onto Verizon as long as it found a small native network signal, I was happy enough.

          Now data was and is a different story.

          If you stick to major cities and freeways these days, most carriers will serve you. Rural is something else, and results at a specific location can vary. It was near-complete dead zone at our new house that made me leave Sprint and try the CDMA MetroPCS.

          Very strong signal at my house and around town, and since it roamed on Sprint for free and Verizon for 19 cents a minute (with free texts), my travel experience was the same. I considered it only an improvement — for about $15 less a month.

          Now on the Tmo-MetroPCS and quite happy, although I have not traveled much yet.

      • Stefan Naumowicz

        I strongly disagree with your evaluation of prepaid customers worth to AT&T and Verizon. “In fact, they are more happy to see them go” really? If they would rather not have them at all, why would they even offer the service to begin with? And why would AT&T form AIO, a sub brand that only sells prepaid? And why would Verizon lower the cost of their 1gb no contract phone plan from $80 to $50 over the course of a year, and then start offering LTE access on these plans? That’s a lot of effort put into attracting customers that you claim they don’t even want to serve in the first place. Granted, postpaid customers are generally of higher value than prepaid customers but to suggest that a carrier would rather not have any one of their customer classes is ridiculous.

        VZW and AT&T have it made right now, because their networks and plans are built around those sticky postpaid customers of theirs; generally older people who are stuck on the idea that only their respective carrier is reliable enough for them to be worth having, and don’t mind paying $10 per gb because they primarily use their phone as a phone, and only use data to send email and read the news. They will NEVER be able to implement that pricing strategy onto the younger generation, and once their current customer base fades away and this new generation of consumers who use their phones in an entirely different fashion (smart features primarily, phone functions secondary) and are open minded enough to understand that you don’t need to have the most behemoth network available to get reliable service, become the prime customers they have to try and win over they will either fail miserably or will have to spend an enormous amount of money to restructure their network to be able to adapt to this new type of demand. T-Mobile is already building this type of network the future will call for, and will be 1 giant step ahead of the others once they realize what they have to do.

  • Jeremiah McCurry

    Passing Sprint is no grand accomplishment. Inching closer to the Big 2 and posting profits at the same time would be impressive.

    • Fabian Cortez

      Says the butt-hurt Sprint fanboy.

      • archerian

        Or T-Mobile stockholder

        • maximus1901

          Zing! The only reason tmus is above $26 is BECAUSE of merger rumors. Take those away and reality will bite hard.

        • espie

          It was taken away. Still above $26, friendo.

        • maximus1901

          Sprint yes not illiad and dish. Iliad offered $33 remember? That’s effectively a floor.
          If dish decides to team up with sprint for fixed Tdd lte and Iliad decides it can’t afford to give TMO billions for aws3 and 600 auction…

    • Paul

      Increasing your customers base = increase income. increasing the income will lead to profits. The last quarterly results illustrated that.
      Passing Sprint means we have more customers which will increase the profits. Increasing to the #3 carrier = profits. You are correct that inching closer to the big 2 and making profits is impressive, but overtaking the #3 spots is as well, seeing that T-Mobile has climbed a LONG way upward.

      • archerian

        The side effect of uncarrier is that carriers cannot hold onto customers via contracts. This is not an ideal scenario from a profit making perspective, especially when T-Mobile has a less wide network which proves a handicap regardless of price. Most of T-Mobile adds over the past year are from Sprint and others users who can be easily poached back with a tweak in pricing or disillusionment with coverage or speed

        • donnybee

          Speed won’t be an issue. Coverage..maybe. But you need to remember that even though on a map T-Mobile looks like swiss cheese, they cover 96%+ of Americans. Many of those have LTE. The fastest average speeds nationwide.

          Now they have the best customer service. They have all the uncarrier moves and only stand to make moves that will help them grow while also benefiting the customer. No other carrier can say that. Yes, T-Mobile has some downsides, but with growth of customers comes growth of the network. If T-Mobile keeps doing what it’s doing, people just won’t want to leave. They’ve already been gaining millions on millions of customers who see the better side of things, and we all know coverage won’t be getting worse. So that only means one thing

        • Paul

          You make a good point on the non-contract end. It doesn’t mean that it’s a weak point. Yes, Sprint has been losing users to T-Mobile, but so has AT&T. As well, Sprint has lost them to AT&T. It’s a vicious circle. Allowing customers a good price with no service contract seems to working. And I know I like the idea of leaving when I want, but have no desire to. Sprints speeds and coverage aren’t really better than T-Mobile’s. Pricing wise, well they aren’t exactly flooded with new customers and “framily” is a numbers game.

          So while the non-contract allows people to leave, the details are convincing them to stay.

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          T-Mobile has managed to shrink their churn dramatically despite their implementation of the uncarrier strategies. Customers actually WANT to stay with a carrier who doesn’t try and force them to. Also, an outstanding EIP is equally prohibitive (or maybe even more so) to a customer switching carriers as a contract is.

    • Aaron C

      If someone had told you two years ago that T-Mobile would be the #3 carrier, would you have believed them? Not me. But I believe Legere when he says at some point, he could see T-Mobile being #1.

    • Stefan Naumowicz

      Sure, it’s a nominal achievement without any tangible rewards, but a significant milestone on the path to the big 2 nonetheless. When is the last time a cell carrier surpassed another in market share?

      • Jeremiah McCurry

        AT&T just passed Verizon with the Leap deal. You could see Sprint move quickly on USCC is they are concerned about slipping behind T-MO in total customers.

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          Only because VZW doesn’t report wholesale and connected subscribers, if you take those out of at&t’s total (or add in the estimates for VZW) VZW is still ahead.

  • superg05

    in 2 more quarters :)

    • taron19119

      It can happen in one quarter

      • superg05

        i know i saw the numbers but it slowing down abit so i push back my projection an extra quater to Q3

        • taron19119

          Yeah but your missing the one big Factor in q3 the iPhone 6 Will bring T Mobile 1 million new customers alone

        • superg05

          your so right i forgot all about the iphone it will bring in a large herd of customers in all on it own and some for the note 4

        • conservative_motorcyclist

          Also, Don’t forget that iOS 8 is bringing Wi-Fi calling support to existing devices! This will be a game changer.
          I know quite a few people with iPhones that need to use an AT&T Microcell for service in their house. When they can just use Wi-Fi calling, they are switching!

        • maximus1901

          I’m surprise given that att has 850 almost every market. Which city does this happen?

        • conservative_motorcyclist

          Franconia, NH area. It’s all 2G up there.

        • Aaron C

          Haha. I was vacationing in Lincoln / North Conway last month around this time and it was my first time away from NY metro area using T-Mobile. BRU-TAL. I was roaming on UNICEL, AT&T, then even Verizon at one point (I was like huh? How is that even possible)? All the rest was T-Mobile edge. Phone and SMS worked fine, but forget about data.

        • conservative_motorcyclist

          Ya it can be hit-or-miss. In all honesty, it’s comparable to AT&T and Verizon because of the roaming agreements. The only thing we don’t get is speedy data.

          Verizon actually bought out Unicel in 2008. As a condition of the sale, the government forced Verizon to maintain the existing coverage for roaming purposes. (That’s why they sometimes show up as Verizon) en Wikipedia org/wiki/Unicel

          AT&T is fun because they don’t have a 4G roaming agreement with T-Mobile in that area, only 2G. So all your data is 2G speeds even with an HSPA/HSPA+ connection.

        • maximus1901

          Where are they gonna come from? Your ass? Lol. Where’d you pull that number?

        • taron19119

          Just look its people saying it all the time that they want to get t-mobile but not until the iPhone 6 comes out i know 100 people alone that are waiting for the iPhone 6 before leaving Sprint for t-mobile and every year when the iphone comes out is when the most unhappy customers do the switching of carriers and T Mobile will not be affected by people wanting to leave because they have lowest amount of iphone customers of the big 4

  • maximus1901

    This is spin on an UNdesirable situation. The more prepaid customers a carrier has, the less profitable it is.
    Profit: vzw > att > TMO/sprint
    prepaid: vzw < att < TMO/sprint

    TMO would MUCH rather have all those prepaid be postpaids.

    • taron19119

      actually majority of them are MetroPCS customers

    • Stefan Naumowicz

      Not necessarily, its all about ARPU. Since T-Mobile postpaid plan pricing is the same as prepaid the ARPU isn’t affected by an imbalance in customer type the way it is with other carriers. EDIT: remember before metro merged with tmo they were strictly prepaid, and were doing pretty well

      • maximus1901

        How about you actually checkout the q2 presentation PDF and get back to me on that ;)

        • espie

          Prepaid customers paying $65/month is profitable no matter how you slice it. That’s not to say they all are, ARPU has been going up year over year. Thank you, LTE. :)

        • maximus1901

          Except they’re not paying $65 per month. Did you look at the slides?

        • Stefan Naumowicz

          The point we’re trying to make is that ARPU is the primary factor in a carrier’s profitability. The ratio of postpaid to prepaid subs is completely insignificant as a standalone statistic in this respect, all that tells us is what percentage of a carriers customers pay at the beginning of their cycles and what percentage pay after. The AMOUNT the customers pay is what matters, not when they pay it.

          “The more prepaid customers a carrier has, the less profitable it is.”

          So, hypothetically, if there were 2 carriers who were identical in every way except carrier A was all postpaid and had an ARPU of $25, and carrier B was strictly prepaid and had an ARPU of $75, that somehow carrier A would be more profitable?

      • Mike

        I don’t think prepaid and postpaid pricing is the same. Typically, taxes and fees are added on the postpaid bill, padding it by 15% or so. And in general, all-prepaid MetroPCS is about $10 less/month for the same coverage as T Mobile (excluding some data roaming and international texting).

  • KP

    While this is a great stat, its not one I would bound my chest about.

  • Ordeith

    They desperately need to get that coverage improved.

  • Peter Tester

    There are resellers under T-Mobile that offer pretty attractive deals too but more niche than T-Mo directly.

    http://www.allprepaidplans.com/network/t-mobile

    T-Mobile is certainly the most innovative mobile company nowadays: no interest financed phones, cheap plans, even cheaper multi-line plans, great 4G LTE and HSPA+ networks…