First quarter analysis shows T-Mobile continues to dominate postpaid growth; Sprint’s leasing a winner

First quarter analysis shows T-Mobile continues to dominate postpaid growth; Sprint’s leasing a winner
No one disputes T-Mobile’s disruption of the American wireless market, but how does it really stack up against AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon? Well as you might expect, it is doing quite well.

Despite occasional hiccups with marketing over network coverage claims, T-Mobile is outpacing its three larger rivals in postpaid net phone additions, and that is a big deal, particularly since the growth of tablet sales is expected to decline.

One category that is a big player in the continued growth of for a saturated market like the United States is in “connected” devices. Combined with recent tablet data, the two categories are growing four time faster than smartphones.

Equipment installment plans has proven to be widely popular, but Sprint appears to have a winner when it comes to equipment leasing. In the first quarter of 2015, Sprint saw nearly 40% of its smartphone sales tied to the carrier’s new leasing program, easily beating installment options by better than 2-to-1. On the subscriber count, Sprint is just inches away from T-Mobile overtaking the carrier for the number 3 spot.

In the final analysis, AT&T is trending negative which may be cause for worry and Sprint is still below the break-even point. Verizon took it on the chin, but the same thing happened in the first quarter last year too. T-Mobile has been consistently adding on average about 1 million subscribers every quarter.


sources: Jackdaw Research via FierceWireless

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13 Comments

1. WillieFDiaz

Posts: 127; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

What the final slide showed me is that MOST Sprint users do NOT want to own a bad Sprint phone, and would rather lease and return rather than be stuck in something that doesnt work, own a phone no one wants and can be blocked, even though you owned it. What this final slide showed me is that MOST Sprint users do NOT want to have any reason to stick around, or invest. It is a lot easier to get out of a lease, when a company can not provide the service to uphold the lease terms, than it is to get out of a long term purchase when a company fails to provide service. In fact, in many states, leases are upheld to a level that the entire contractual obligation falls on the lessor. Like a rental property, they have standards that must be upheld, and if they do not meet or stand to the minimum standards, the law overrides the contract terms and states the contract is invalid. Just something Sprint may want to think about when leasing to people - provide the service, or expect lawsuits and losing big time.

10. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

The terms are basically the exact same as their installment customers, except they trade the phone in at the end of the term instead of keep it.

2. ceij85

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 20, 2013

or that most sprint users enjoy not paying anything up front and walking out of the door with a new phone. or as i was silly enough to buy into the iPhone for life situation - but could not deal any longer without being able to go online while on a call. Basically defeats the purpose of having an iPhone when your iMessages are delayed and can't do anything socially - view a picture sent from the person you're speaking with - or research a topic of conversation. I don't know if most people know the ends and outs of leasing - but I do know that Pay $0 today was enticing enough :-) respectfully submitted - former sprint customer

3. promise7

Posts: 894; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

Do T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon even lease phones or does paying in installments count as leasing also? I thought only Sprint leases iPhone and Galaxy phones for $0-$5 per month as a program to lure customers to their network.

4. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

You're buying it. They aren't leases.

12. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Yes and no. If you have Jump you have an optional lease. On the first Jump, you had 2 trade ins a year. They would take the phone and wipe what you owed for you to start over. Basically a Lease. On their second version of jump, once half the phone is paid off, either up front or in payments, just half needs to be paid off (of the total price of thephone), then you can turn it in. Again 'lease'. If you do not trade it in under Jump, then you have bought the phone.

11. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

Sprint offers leases and installments. Basically leasing works the same way, except you're required to trade in your device at the end and you do not qualify for buyback credits. However, you do pay monthly installments. If you can't return the phone in good condition or you decide you want to keep it, you basically pay the differenec in overall cost between the lease and what the MSRP would be. An example is the Galaxy S6, it is 27$ a month when you do installments and you pay the tax upfront, the lease is 20$ a month and no tax upfront.

5. ceij85

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 20, 2013

Tmobile is a full purchase over time - At&T and verizon I have no idea - but sprint either gives you a "$50" plan and a 25-40 dollar lease payment for iPhones or an "$80" plan with no lease payment for the Samsung things. the major difference between sprint and the rest is you can potentially not pay about $200 dollars based upon the actual cost of the phone, but ummm be paying for a device for the rest of your life....... In a world where we need to be cutting back - this does not make a LOT of sense...

6. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

AT&T does it two ways: 1. Next plan which is taxes upfront and cost of handset over 20-24 months. Then you own just like TMobile. You can select a plan on Next that is leasing if you take the one that allows for a trade in to a new handset after 12 months, the line charge is $15. 2. Long standing where you pay $0-$399 and sign a two year contract. Under this plan the line charge is $40. If you do math if better to do the next plan and you end up saving money, as an example take a phone that's $699 and pay for 24 months it's $29.125 per month. Doing a two year you pay $199 up front and $25 more per month. After two years you have now spent $200 + $600($25 additional line charge X 24)=$800 Not its up to you to save $101 now and give it to wireless company.

7. tokuzumi

Posts: 1900; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Verizon has taken the biggest hit in numbers of subscribers leaving. They really aren't the network powerhouse they used to be.

8. sanaali

Posts: 2; Member since: May 19, 2015

if you want to get some good t-mobiles check out this amzn.to/1IOP8Me

9. jpkelly05

Posts: 110; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

These carrier comparisons are worthless. All US carriers suck. PERIOD. Lets see a US comparison to the rest of the world. We pay too much is my point AND for less than the rest of the World (not Third world places) the big market countries. Please PA, Enlighten us.

13. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Sure, which country. I will start with the UK, Vodafone more expensive and less speed than T-Mobiles Offering. It is not like the internet isnt one big search pot. I want to know where in the world i can pay $80 bucks (or its countries equivalent), and get Data speeds in the 50-80Mbps range, unlimited data, 5gb hotspot, text/calls unlimited

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