Despite rival T-Mobile attempting to take its number 3 spot among the biggest wireless carriers in the United States, Sprint has held firm by gaining 967,000 net new mobile subscriptions to its fold during the latest quarter ending December 31st. It should be noted that in Sprint's fiscal year, the October-December quarter is actually its third quarter.
Just like T-Mobile, Sprint is disclosing its subscriber figures a month ahead of its official revenue numbers. By adding 967,000 connections more, Sprint's total tally is now at 56 million connections, which is a 1-million advantage over 55 million reported by T-Mobile for its more recent quarter.
2014 has been a kind of turnaround year for Sprint. Ever since its new chief executive officer Marcelo Claure took over the reins last summer, the carrier has been quietly recovering its foothold, whilst fending off its close competitors. By making changes to its existing plans and introducing new programs, Sprint has found itself becoming competitive again. As recently as last month, the carrier has introduced a special promo that promises to cut the bills in half of any customer from AT&T and Verizon Wireless. It is unusual for sure, but it may have also helped Sprint gain new subscriptions while encouraging subscribers of competitors to defect.
And it appears that the Sprint's efforts under Claure's leadership are paying off. The 967,000 new subscriptions in the carrier's fiscal third quarter is definitely a big improvement over the 464,000 new subscriptions that Sprint gained in its fiscal second quarter.
It also helps that Sprint has attracted many customers through its prepaid brands Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. As a matter of fact, in the most recent quarter, the carrier was able to add 410,000 new customers through its prepaid brands.
Add 30,000 net postpaid subscribers plus 527,000 net wholesale additions (through mobile virtual network operators like FreedomPop, Ting, and Republic Wireless) to that number, and you get a total of 967,000 new subscriptions.
As for the 30,000 net postpaid subscribers -- it may not be much but it is a pretty significant number for Sprint. The carrier has been losing postpaid customers for some time now, and it is no doubt pleased that it is seeing back some growth in that area during the most recent quarter. Indeed, the number of postpaid customers has increased by 20 percent compared to zero growth in the same quarter last year.
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