T-Mobile, AT&T enter war of words over who is America’s #2 wireless provider

T-Mobile issues first numbers since Sprint merger

The fight for wireless carrier supremacy entered a new front Thursday in a war of words between T-Mobile and AT&T.

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TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
TMUST-MOBILE US112.02+1.47+1.33%
TAT&T INC.28.040.000.00%

T-Mobile, releasing its first numbers since its merger with Sprint earlier this year, claimed it has overtaken AT&T as America's #2 wireless provider, adding 1,245,000 customers in the second quarter for a total of 98.3 million.

“Surpassing AT&T to become #2 was a huge milestone," said T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert in a statement, "but that was only the beginning! In our first quarter as a combined company, T-Mobile led the industry in total branded customer adds – even in a challenging environment – and there is no doubt that we are THE leading growth company in wireless.”

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According to T-Mobile, net postpaid customer additions were 1,112,000 for the quarter. Net postpaid phone additions increased by 253,000 to 65.1 million with postpaid phone churn of 0.80 percent. The company's other net postpaid additions were 859,000 and their net prepaid customer additions were 133,000 with a prepaid churn of 2.81 percent.

While AT&T declined to officially comment, the company did supply a set of numbers that did not agree with the T-Mobile figures.

AT&Tsaid it has 92.9 million branded subscribers including postpaid and prepaid subscribers. However, the company noted that, including its 71.8 million connected devices, the total would be more than 160 million.

AT&T reported a net loss of 151,000 postpaid customers in the second quarter, including 338,000 accrued disconnects for which the company continues to provide service for Keep America Connected programs, with postpaid phone churn of 0.84 percent. In addition, AT&T gained 135,000 in net prepaid customer additions, however, despite prepaid churn hitting a record low of less than 3 percent.

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Despite the conflicting numbers, T-Mobile's Sievert said,  “Now we’re setting our sights on #1 – in customer choice and customers’ hearts"  – which would be Verizon Wireless. According to the leader's most recent earnings report, Verizon boasts 119.9 million subscribers.

As for its earnings, T-Mobile reported year-over-year increases of $13.2 billion in service revenue and $17.7 billion in total revenue for the quarter, both driven by the merger with former competitor Sprint and the company's continued customer growth. The company also reported a profit of $110 million with earnings per share of $0.09, primarily due to merger-related costs, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and non-cash impairments.

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