US Wireless Q1 Scorecard

Light Reading Mobile breaks down the key metrics for US wireless operators during the most recently reported quarter

Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms

May 13, 2011

3 Min Read
US Wireless Q1 Scorecard

The first quarter was dramatic for wireless operators in the U.S. with Long Term Evolution (LTE) services starting, Verizon Wireless beginning to sell the iPhone and AT&T announcing plans to acquire T-Mobile US Inc. . (See Verizon Finally Gets the iPhone 4 , Verizon Speeds Up LTE Expansion and AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile for $39B.)

The U.S. wireless race has already winnowed to AT&T and Verizon, which went head-to-head on metrics. Verizon added substantially more subscribers in the quarter thanks to the iPhone, but AT&T's bottom line wasn't hurt because of it. Even Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) held its own thanks to its prepaid business, but the carrier has been telling everyone who'll listen that it's going to get harder for them if AT&T absorbs T-Mobile. (See AT&T Takes the Oath on T-Mobile Merger).

All of the operators, including the smaller players, talked up mobile Internet growth, driven by the adoption of smartphones, particularly Android-based phones, in most cases .

Here's a snapshot of how the top eight operators fared in the first quarter:

Table 1: Tier 1 Wireless Operators' Q1 Earnings

Verizon Wireless




Total Revenue

$27.0 billion


$8.3 billion

$5.16 billion

Total Subscribers

104 million

97.5 million

51 million

33.6 million

Postpaid Subscriber Additions





Postpaid ARPU





Total Postpaid Churn

1.01 percent

1.18 percent

1.81 percent

2.4 percent

Table 2: Tier 2 Operators' Q1 Earnings


US Cellular


Leap Wireless

Total Revenue

$242 million

$985.1 million

$1.2 billion

$779.9 million

Total Subscribers

6.15 million

6.1 million

8.9 million

5.8 million

Postpaid Subscriber Additions

1.8 million

Lost 22,000

725,000 (prepaid)

331,000 (prepaid)

Postpaid ARPU

$46.32 (retail)


$40.42 (prepaid)

$39.35 (prepaid)

Total Postpaid Churn

3.3 percent (retail)

1.37 percent

3.1 percent (prepaid)

3.1 percent (prepaid)

For more of LR Mobile's first-quarter analysis:

  • U.S. Cellular Reports Q1

  • Deutsche Telekom Shrinks in Q1

  • T-Mobile Suffers in Competitive US Wireless Biz

  • Leap Hopes Music Will Muve It Nationwide

  • Leap Makes Gains But Reports Q1 Loss

  • Clearwire Posts Q1 Loss

  • Clearwire Says It Won't Sell Spectrum

  • MetroPCS Seeks 'LTE for All' Spectrum

  • Sprint Perks Up in Competitive Q1

  • AT&T Looks From iPhone to LTE to Increase Subs

  • AT&T's iPhone Growth Continues

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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