T-Mobile sprints into U.S. top 3 carrier spot


Sprint added new customers, but not enough to keep its bronze model from T-Mobile. Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr CC

T-Mobile has been on a hot ride lately, but it’s unfortunately at Sprint’s expense. While the latter carrier has been declining in market share for the past couple of years, it’s finally now in last place out of the four major U.S. wireless carriers. T-Mobile snatched the bronze model.

In the quarterly earnings call, Sprint said it had 57.7 million customers with a net gain of 675,000. T-Mobile, however, gained 2.1 million customers last quarter for a grand total of 58.9 million.

Sprint also reported a loss of $20 million for the quarter. The carrier posted a profit of $23 million in the year-ago quarter, so it’s probably not too thrilled with how 2015 is going so far. Sprint says the huge loss is due to significant spending on customer acquisition, which it plans to cut in 2016.

“We are already beginning steps to eliminate as much or more cost next year as we continue to reinvent how we operate,” Sprint CEO Marcello Claure told analysts.

Reuters reported the carrier will soon focus efforts on retaining current customers rather than acquiring new ones, which makes strategic sense. AT&T and Verizon are the head honchos while T-Mobile has created an ever-growing niche for itself as the anti-head honcho. Sprint, however, hasn’t done much outside of those Framily plans and attempting to lower customers’ bills.

Still, it’s not all bad for Sprint. It had record low customer defections during the quarter, and the $20 million loss apparently wasn’t as much of a loss as expected. It’ll be interesting going into 2016 to see how Sprint takes on T-Mobile to try regaining its number three spot.