Bellevue-based T-Mobile added 2.1 million customers, ending the latest quarter with 58.9 million customers. Sprint added only 675,000, ending the period with 57.7 million customers.
T-Mobile US finally has surpassed Sprint to become the country’s third-largest wireless carrier.
For the quarter ending June 30, Bellevue-based T-Mobile added 2.1 million customers, ending the period with 58.9 million customers. Sprint, reporting its quarterly results Tuesday, said it added only 675,000, ending the period with 57.7 million customers. That allowed T-Mobile to step up to the No. 3 position, behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere said repeatedly last year that he expected T-Mobile to overtake Sprint in total customers by the end of 2014, putting his company behind industry giants Verizon and AT&T. He backtracked at the end of the year, predicting T-Mobile would become the No. 3 in 2015.
He was right.
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The Twitter-happy Legere, known to drop more than a few F-bombs, kept it mild Tuesday tweeting, “They’re really making moves over there at @Sprint! Like the move from 3rd to 4th … ”
Since its 2013 merger with MetroPCS, T-Mobile has added about 15 million customers. Sprint, on the other hand, has hovered around 55 million since 2011 until finally jumping to 57.1 million customers at the end of its fiscal fourth quarter March 31.
Since hiring Chief Executive Marcelo Claure last August, Sprint has been focused on adding customers by cutting prices and offering free Wi-Fi calling and international roaming. The company introduced the $80 “all-in” pricing plan in June as a way to provide a clear monthly price for a smartphone and unlimited talk, text and high-speed data. Sprint also doubled its retail footprint by opening up shop in co-branded Sprint-RadioShack stores.
T-Mobile, for its part, has been touting its “un-carrier” offerings to attract new customers and win others from its competitors.
The un-carrier moves range from removing mandatory two-year contracts to offering unlimited music streaming, data rollover and Wi-Fi calling and texting while on an airplane.
This summer, T-Mobile has been rolling out a series of updates to some of its original un-carrier moves, which started in 2013. Dubbed “Un-carrier Amped,” the offerings include “Mobile without Borders,” which allows Simple Choice customers to talk, text and use data in Canada and Mexico without paying extra charges.
T-Mobile’s tactics paid off in the second quarter, as it posted a better than expected profit of $361 million on $8.2 billion in sales.
Sprint’s tactics have yet to make a big payoff for the Overland Park, Kan.-based company.
In its fiscal first quarter, Sprint’s operating revenue dropped about 9 percent from the same quarter a year ago, to $8.03 billion. Overall, Sprint posted a net loss of $20 million, or 1 cent a share, compared with a $23 million profit for the same period the year before.
The numbers, however, beat analysts’ estimates. They had expected a loss of $213 million.
T-Mobile shares closed Tuesday at $41.21, down 28 cents or 0.7 percent. Sprint shares closed Tuesday at $3.49, up 15 cents, or 4.5 percent.