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T-Mobile Continues to Grow Faster

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Sprint Also Grows More in First Quarter of 2014
AT&T and Verizon Enjoy Higher Retention Rates

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) released analysis of the results from its research on mobile phone carriers for the calendar quarter that ended March 31, 2014. This analysis features findings about consumer trends in mobile phone activations from January-March 2014, and is based on its survey of US subjects that activated a new or used mobile phone in that three-month period.

CIRP finds that T-Mobile increased its customer base by the highest percentage among the four largest mobile phone carriers, with Sprint close behind. Verizon was flat, while AT&T had a slight loss in existing customers.

Among the four largest carriers, Verizon has the highest share of activations in the quarter, at 35%. AT&T had the next highest share, at 28% of activations. T-Mobile had 15%, while Sprint had a smaller share, at 9%. All other carriers (regional and prepaid carriers) together had 13% of activations (see "current carrier" in chart).

Carrier Share of Activating Customers at the Beginning and End of Q1 2014
2014-04-22-chart1.jpg

These figures represent how each carrier added and lost customers during the quarter. In this way, Verizon captured the largest share of activations, thought T-Mobile had the largest percent increase among customers activating phones in the quarter.

Relative to customers that activated a new or used phone, T-Mobile grew the most, from 13% of these customers at the start of the quarter to 15% at the end. Sprint also grew, from 8% at the start of the quarter to 9% at the end. T-Mobile and Sprint grew during the quarter, while AT&T and Verizon stayed at roughly the same level from the start of the quarter. Both T-Mobile and Sprint have led the market with novel and disruptive offerings, and consequently seem to attract new customers.

AT&T, Verizon and Sprint also had the highest customer retention, with T-Mobile and other carriers retaining fewer customers in the quarter (see chart).

Carrier Customer Retention Q1 2014
2014-04-22-chart2.jpg

AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint retained about 80% of their eligible customers relative to the start of the quarter, as T-Mobile retained about 70% of their eligible customers. We measure retention relative to the customers that a carrier had a chance to keep or lose. We define these customers as those that activated a new or used phone in the quarter, so they had the choice to switch or stay with their existing carrier. T-Mobile made up for this lower retention by gaining many more customers from other carriers.

For additional information, please contact CIRP.

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