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4G/3G/WiFi

US wireless snapshot: Subscribers, market share and Q3 estimates

The third-quarter earnings season kicks off in force next week, with both AT&T and Verizon scheduled to report their results.

T-Mobile is scheduled to report its results in early November.

Thus, it's worth having a look at the operators' varying positions in the market, particularly in light of the dramatic reshaping of the US wireless industry following the April closure of T-Mobile's purchase of Sprint, a transaction that moves the US wireless industry from a four-provider market to a three-provider market.

First, here's a look at the US wireless market share spread across AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and the cable companies that are now selling mobile services (Comcast, Charter and Altice). These figures come from the financial analysts at Evercore, and represent their estimates for the full year 2020.

Click here for a larger version of this image.
Click here for a larger version of this image.

But what should the market expect from the industry's mobile providers in the upcoming third-quarter reporting season? The financial analysts at Cowen on October 2 provided their expectations for the nation's three big mobile operators:

  • AT&T is expected to report the net addition of 52,000 postpaid phone customers, down from the 101,000 it reported in the same quarter last year. In terms of total postpaid net customer additions (which includes phone customers and other customers), the analysts expect AT&T to report a loss of 126,000, which would be an improvement over the 226,000 subs the operator lost in the same quarter a year ago. And in terms of prepaid customers, the Cowen analysts expect AT&T to add 114,000 customers in the third quarter, down from the 227,000 it added in the year-ago quarter.
  • Verizon is expected to report the net addition of 264,000 postpaid phone customers, down from the 444,000 it reported in the same quarter last year. In terms of total postpaid net customer additions (which includes phone customers and other customers), the analysts expect Verizon to report the addition of 418,000 subs, which would be an improvement over the 343,000 the operator added in the same quarter a year ago. And in terms of prepaid customers, the Cowen analysts expect Verizon to add 13,000 customers in the third quarter, up from the 81,000 it lost in the year-ago quarter.
  • T-Mobile is expected to report the net addition of 483,000 postpaid phone customers, down from the 754,000 it reported in the same quarter last year. In terms of total postpaid net customer additions (which includes phone customers and other customers), the analysts expect T-Mobile to report the addition of 908,000 subs, which would be an improvement over the 831,000 the operator added in the same quarter a year ago. And in terms of prepaid customers, the Cowen analysts expect T-Mobile to add 91,000 customers in the third quarter, up from the 62,000 it added in the year-ago quarter.

Finally, it's also worth having a look at the long-term expectations that the analysts at Evercore have for the nation's big wireless providers. The analysts offered their projections through 2025 for postpaid phone subscribers (often the most valuable subscribers) for each of the big US mobile providers:

Click here for a larger version of this image.
Click here for a larger version of this image.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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