In the big-business world of the US cellular market, it’s not just sufficient to have more users than your peers: you also need people to know just how big a player you are, capitalizing on every chance you get to assert your position. That’s why we saw T-Mobile so eager earlier this year to graduate from fourth place among major US networks to third, moving past Sprint in the process. And while T-Mobile believed it had what mattered to be considered number three at the time, the bookkeeping was a little wonky, and not everyone agreed on just how users should be counted. Well, six months later the story’s a bit easier to read, and as Sprint publishes its latest quarterly figures today, the carrier has effectively confirmed its own descent into fourth place, firmly establishing T-Mobile as the country’s third-largest network.
All told, Sprint ended its most recent quarter with 56.8 million connections, up nearly 700,000 since the previous quarter. And while Sprint seems pleased with itself overall, noting record low post-paid churn, T-Mobile’s simply got it beat, and T-Mobile’s own quarterly figures (published last week) put it at 58.9 million connections. T-Mobile’s growth is stronger, too, picking up 2.1 million new users over the quarter.
While T-Mobile may not be shooting past Sprint with lightning speed, there’s definitely a bit of momentum to this transition, and there’s no sign that we’ll soon see the two switch back to their old pecking order.