Verizon vs AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Q4 metrics show that promos backfire

If you want to know how did the big four mobile carriers do in the last quarter, look no further than the research firm Strategy Analytics report that ranks Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint by subscribers, net adds (including the valuable postpaid segment), and the average monthly churn rate that crudely shows how satisfied the users are with the respective carrier. 

That same churn rate is at some pretty historic lows at the big two Verizon and Samsung, and rather high at Sprint and T-Mobile, showcasing very clearly that once Sprint's promos start expiring, and T-Mobile started getting its prices on par with its Verizon nemesis, subscriber loyalty plunged. We recently compared the new unlimited plans of the big four, and there is indeed very little difference in pricing now, save for Sprint, which, however, has some catching up to do when it comes to coverage outside of large cities. 

Long story short, Verizon is still the largest, but it's AT&T with the biggest net adds, though most of it came from the prepaid segment. If AT&T keeps going this way, it could soon breathe down Verizon's neck, and it would all have happened on the hush-hush, while we were distracted with its legal fight to acquire Time Warner.

source: SA via Fierce Wireless



1. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

I don’t know how T-Mobile can claim they have coverage on par with Verizon. I travel all over the country for work with a Sprint phone provided by my company and my personal Verizon phone. Anytime I am with someone who has T-Mobile in a rural area, they usually complain of no service, even when our Sprint work phones have good signal. It may not be scientific testing but in my experience, Sprint has much better rural coverage than T-Mobile, let alone Verizon. AT&T also seems to be good in most rural areas.

2. Soundjudgment

Posts: 370; Member since: Oct 10, 2016

They should have gotten that T-Mobile/Sprint merger through. So sad.. so sad.

12. turboC6

Posts: 89; Member since: Feb 19, 2018

1 million thumps up. After 12 years, I'm leaving Sprint for Tmobile because Sprint's clueless arrogance killed the merger deal I've been waiting for. But, after WEEKS of trying, Tmobile STILL wants to give me NOTHING for porting both my mobile and unlocked S8 to their postpaid network. Isn't $350-$650 in credits a fair trade for posting my number and phone?

3. Rigmaster

Posts: 234; Member since: Jan 22, 2018

T-mo in/near cities and Sprint in boonies would have been nice. The merger problem was ego (who's going to own/run merged company) more than regulatory block. As to subscriber loyalty, T-Mo and Sprint have always known that inching up the rates costs subscribers. My guess is that they don't mind if the bottom 5% are either too-expensive to keep for any reason so that's not bad churn. The churn they have to keep an eye on is the good customer who's not been there long enough to be on some dirt-cheap grandfathered plan and is in a cost-tier close enough to VZW and ATT to always keep one eye open. They should all know, callers aren't loyal because providers haven't been loyal. Loyalty discounts probably are minimal if they exist at all. Really, why BOGO for everyone when BOGO for the premium-pay is all they really need? Oops, they don't do that either so the churn cycles only shift among the carriers rather than actually getting addressed.

4. speedingcheetah

Posts: 86; Member since: Jul 22, 2017

Project Fi. Uses 3 carriers (T-mobile,Sprint, US Cellular). $10 per GB and refunds unused data. Good money saving for low to medium data user and those who travel international. If u use more than 6GB, bill is capped at $80, which is on par with other carriers "Unlimited" Plans. But after 15GB on Fi, ur slowed to 256k, where as other carriers, its 20/25/40gb. Sprint still is the "best" cost for Unlimited at $60 (with 1080p video, games 8meg, music 1.5megs. 10gb 4G teather)

5. torr310

Posts: 1676; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

I can't believe so many people would choose AT&T!

6. highwaysnobbery

Posts: 55; Member since: Feb 19, 2013

You think that's bad. I got told at a coffee shop recently that this woman uses AT&T because "They have the iPhone." She looked confused when I told her you can get them at any carrier and have been able to do so for years.

10. p51d007

Posts: 705; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

For me, in my area, at&t has the better coverage, but their PRICES stink! So I went with Straight Talk years ago, and get to continue to use the at&t towers, but, saving hundreds, per year. 10GB is PLENTY for me. About the only thing I use the data for is traveling for streaming. Most of the rest of the time, I'm on wifi.

7. azuleyez

Posts: 23; Member since: Dec 07, 2012

I have literally tried all 4 big carriers over the past year - Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. I ended up going back to AT&T and I will never switch again because: 1) Verizon's congestion is absolutely horrific. Data is literally unusable during peak times, in major populated areas. That is simply unacceptable from a company who touts the most reliable 4G LTE network. 2) T-Mobile rural coverage simply does not exist 3) Sprint's data speeds are incredibly slow. Too slow to even send an email most of the time. Finally 4) AT&T works in rural areas, speeds are impressively good virtually everywhere I've gone, and I do not experience congestion/bottlenecks during peak hours in cities like Verizon. So there you go, coming from a real life user who travels frequently. Hope this helps!

8. tnt44

Posts: 5; Member since: Oct 27, 2016

You're spot on. I'm always surprised at how AT&T seems to fly under the radar in the public eye. I guess it's because of the ongoing Verizon vs. T-Mobile feud, and the media's focus on that more than anything else. AT&T's 4G/HSPA+ has coverage as good, if not better than, Verizon's 3G footprint. And it's significantly faster as well. So while Verizon might have better overall coverage, their "fallback" from LTE is horrendously slow. AT&T also still has a lot of plan options, while Verizon has gone to 3 terribly small limited plans and the two big unlimited plans - clearly trying to force their customers into unlimited. Not that AT&T isn't pushing unlimited as well, but at least they still have options. IMHO AT&T is the best all around carrier due to their coverage, competitive pricing options, great "fallback" network, and great phone choice. I know I sound like an AT&T commercial, but I'm mainly just speaking from my own experience using each of the big 4 carriers over the past couple of years.

13. speedingcheetah

Posts: 86; Member since: Jul 22, 2017

AT&T is crap for me. I can only get 4G LTE if i stand outside on my patio. Inside...its 1 bar of 3G. Litteraly ALL other carriers get good 4G inside at my location.

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