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T-Mobile Tops Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint in Postpaid Subscribers Additions in 1Q of 2014

First Posted: May 02, 2014 11:59 PM EDT

Verizon Communications posted its first quarter results for 2014, and the telecommunications company encountered its first loss in 15 quarters.

According to independent technology market research and consulting firm Technology Business Research, Inc. (TBR), Verizon did not maintain the top position in the postpaid subscriber market. For the first time in 15 quarters, Verizon lost the No. 1 position to AT&T by nearly 100,000 net additions.

Verizon did post positive figures outside of the postpaid subscriber additions. Verizon concluded the first quarter with a total revenue growth of 4.8 percent compared to the same period last year. Two reasons noted for the accelerated growth for Verizon are the increase in wireless data and FiOS segments.

Despite losing the postpaid subscribers growth for the first quarter, Verizon still holds the largest base in the United States due to popular shared data offerings. TBR's Datacenter Analyst for Mobility and Telecom Practice Eric Costa stated Verizon's decline in the postpaid subscriber market may have been the result of AT&T's Share Everything plans. Verizon has countered AT&T's new plan offer with the More Everything plans, which also aims to counter T-Mobile's Simple Choice and Sprint's Framily plans.

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Verizon reportedly encountered growth in the tablet market during the first quarter this year.

TBR stated it "believes Verizon will bounce back in [the second quarter of 2014] due to its growing adoption of its Share Everything plans. These plans will continue to attract new tablet and other connections onto Verizon's LTE network, which totaled 47.9 million LTE devices in [the first quarter of 2014]."

The independent technology market research and consulting firm added that AT&T will mainly compete with T-Mobile for postpaid net additions during the second quarter while Verizon will conclude the year with the highest net additions.

In a note regarding Sprint's financials, Costa reported the mobile carrier lost approximately 750,000 retail subscribers during the first quarter. He added that Sprint will focus on its prepaid brand and Framily plans as the carrier enters second quarter.

"Amidst these challenges, Sprint's primary focus remains to complete its Network Vision and Spark initiatives and to migrate its existing subscribers into more lucrative LTE plans," noted Costa. "Network Vision and additional layoffs will start to bend the cost curve down in 2H14, at which point TBR believes Sprint will be able to show a real improvement in its operating results."

T-Mobile, at the conclusion of the first quarter, remained at the fourth largest mobile carrier in the U.S. TBR stated that T-Mobile's LTE network additions, Un-carrier strategies, and MetroPCS will continue to help the company especially in postpaid and total net additions. T-Mobile reported 2.4 million total net additions during the first quarter this year, which is an increase attributed to the carrier's Simple Choice plans. T-Mobile scored the top position of most postpaid subscribers during the quarter with 1.3 million additions.

TBR stated T-Mobile's latest Un-carrier strategy, which featured the launch of Simple Starter plans, might put pressure to its fellow mobile carrier rivals.

"T-Mobile is thriving on attracting the cost sensitive subscribers from the other Tier 1 carriers, and these new plans only add to the operator's portfolio of inexpensive plans," added Costa.


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