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T-Mobile USA outshines rivals in Q3 with 2m net adds

T-Mobile USA added almost two million net connections in the last quarter, the highest of any MNO in the country, and a testament to the snowball effect which has seen it become the fastest growing wireless company in the US – now boasting a total of 69.4m connections.

T-Mobile’s Q3 net adds were slightly short of the 2.3m connections it added in the same period last year, but this shouldn’t take away from the fact that this achievement marks the fourteenth quarter on the trot that John Legere, the extrovert CEO, has reported over a million net adds.

The other big three mobile carriers in the US also enjoyed growth in the mobile sector, although not as prosperously as TMO – Verizon Wireless added 442,000 net connections, AT&T gained 1.5m connections, but lost 268,000 mainstream mobile customers. Sprint’s results are fresh off the press, showing total net additions of 740,000.

Verizon Wireless still leads the pack with 143.3m mobile subscribers, while AT&T ended Q3 with a total base of 133m mobile connections, and Sprint has 59.2m.

Consumers are thirsty for data at affordable prices and T-Mobile and Sprint have enjoyed successful quarters by meeting this demand with enticing new unlimited data plans. Whereas AT&T’s unlimited mobile data plan is exclusive to DirecTV customers, and doesn’t serve up the cheaper prices of its competitors. Both T-Mobile US and Sprint rolled out their new offerings in August, with T-Mobile’s One service seeing it scrap its previous bouquet of monthly packages in favor of a solitary $70 monthly plan for 6GB, down from $95. Although, shortly after the Uncarrier’s announcement, Sprint undercut it with an unlimited data plan costing $60 per month, reduced from $75, but for a family of four, both operators are offering unlimited plans for $160 per month.

AT&T has openly pledged its commitment to a mobile-first TV strategy, and that has been made abundantly clear this week with its pursuit of content giant Time Warner dominating the headlines. It will have to position itself and DirecTV as a major mobile-first TV business if it stands to win back some of the 400,000 customers which T-Mobile US claims it ransacked from AT&T in the last quarter alone, as well as 300,000 from Sprint and 250,000 from Verizon Wireless.

T-Mobile’s controversial Binge On service will have contributed to its quarterly growth, helped by the wealth of content providers it has signed up, including Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and HBO – allowing users to stream video without eating up data allowances or being hit with overage charges.

Total revenue for T-Mobile US in Q3 was $9.2bn, a growth of 13.2% year-on-year, including services revenues of $7.1bn, up 13.2%. Net income also rose 17.8% from last year to $366m for the quarter for T-Mobile US. AT&T’s total revenue was up 4.6% year-on-year to $40.9bn, but mobile revenues declined a fraction to $18.2bn, from $18.3bn in the third quarter of 2015. Net income increased 11.2% to $3.33bn for AT&T.

Verizon, however, saw total quarterly revenue down 6.7% year-on-year to $30.94bn, and net income decreased to $3.75bn from $4.17bn in Q3 last year. Its wireless business accounted for $22.1bn of total revenue, a decline of 3.9% year-on-year. Last but not least, Sprint recorded revenue for Q3 2016 of $8.25bn, growing from $7.98bn, and the mobile operator posted losses of $142m, down from $585m.

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