T-Mobile reports pushing past Sprint to third place in US market
When it comes to cellular carrier competition in the US, it’s far from an even playing field. We’ve got Verizon and AT&T so far out in the lead that they’ve got well over twice as many subscribers as their closest competition. Then there’s T-Mobile and Sprint fighting it out for third and fourth place, and while sometimes we like to talk about a “top five,” bringing US Cellular into the mix, that carrier’s an order of magnitude smaller. That T-Mobile/Sprint balance has been showing the greatest likelihood of a shift, and while Sprint’s been in third to T-Mobile’s fourth, stagnant Sprint growth combined with aggressive maneuvering from T-Mobile has threatened to reverse that ordering. Now T-Mobile CEO John Legere is claiming that his network has indeed slid past Sprint’s, and now occupies the number three spot.
T-Mobile’s been picking up new subscribers both as fresh sign-ups and as a result of its MetroPCS acquisition, and little by little it’s closed-in on Sprint’s 55 million. Legere now says that not only has T-Mobile reached that same 55 million report itself, but Sprint’s subscriber numbers should actually be a little lower than we’ve heard. Specifically, he points to some bookkeeping funny-business wherein Sprint’s been reporting months-inactive MVNO customers as part of its current subscriber count. As a result, despite the two carriers appearing to be neck-and-neck on paper, T-Mobile’s already pulled ahead.
Even if you’re not quite sold by all that, Legere claims that by next quarter T-Mobile’s advancement past Sprint should be crystal clear, no matter how you look at the data.