T-Mobile Dominates the Quarter

Gains Come From Major and Regional Carriers

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) released analysis of the results from its research on US mobile phone carriers for the calendar quarter that ended September 30, 2015. This analysis features findings about consumer trends in mobile phone activations from July-September, 2015 for AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), Sprint (S), and T-Mobile (TMUS).

CIRP finds that among major mobile phone companies, T-Mobile (including MetroPCS) and Sprint (including Boost Mobile) again had the best quarter, gaining new customers to a much greater extent than they lost existing customers. T-Mobile outperformed AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, adding a significantly greater percentage of net customers and maintaining customer losses at the same rate as their competitors.

This analysis shows that among customers that activated a phone in the quarter, T-Mobile grew its customer base 25 percent. Verizon (11 percent), Sprint (6 percent), and AT&T (1 percent) each grew its customer base to a much smaller extent, relative to the number of new phone activators that started the quarter as their respective customers. CIRP analyzes carrier gains and losses among customers who activated a mobile phone during the quarter. Using quarterly activations as a base, CIRP measures each carrier's relative performance (Table 1).

Table 1: Customer Gains and Losses by Carrier - 2015-Q3
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All four of the carriers retained customers at a similar rate, with from 78 percent to 82 percent of customers remaining with the same carrier in the quarter. T-Mobile gained many more customers than the other carriers, with new customer activations equal to 39 percent of the number of customers that started the quarter with T-Mobile. Of course, the other three major carriers did gain new customers, but to a much smaller extent relative to customers at the start of the quarter.

Even as the four major carriers trade customers among themselves, we see even greater movement from regional and prepaid carriers. These other carriers lost a significant percent of customers to the big four, with only 47 percent of regional and prepaid carrier customers remaining loyal to their carrier in the quarter. Further, these regional carriers gained many fewer customers from the four big carriers, as well.

CIRP bases its findings on a survey of 500 US subjects, from October 1-12, 2015, that activated a new or used phone in the July-September 2015 period. For additional information, please contact CIRP.