The company said it's the 11th consecutive quarter it has had more than 1 million net additions to its service.
Bellevue-based T-Mobile US said Wednesday it had added 2.1 million customers during the fourth quarter and 8.3 million for the year, bringing its subscriber count to 63.3 million at the end of 2015.
“That means we added 23,000 customers per day, every day for the last two years,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement. He tweeted something similar Wednesday morning, adding “#fact #sorrynotsorry competitors!”
The company said this was the 11th consecutive quarter it has generated more than 1 million net customer additions and the third consecutive quarter with more than 2 million. Over the summer, the company surpassed Sprint to become the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S.
The bread and butter of the industry is postpaid customers — those who pay their bill at the end of every month. For the year, T-Mobile added 4.5 million postpaid customers, which was above the 3.8 million to 4.2 million projection the company provided at the end of the third quarter.
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To attract new customers and win others from competitors, T-Mobile has been touting its “un-carrier” offerings, which started in 2013. They range from removing mandatory two-year contracts to offering unlimited music streaming, data rollover and texting while on an airplane. The latest offering, Binge On, allows unlimited video streaming.
These low-price plans and unlimited streaming options have come at a price, however. The company’s financial performance fell short of analyst estimates at the end of the third quarter.
T-Mobile is expected to release its fourth-quarter financial results next month.
The low-price plans, which have been marketed as “no-contract” options, have drawn criticism because they include a contract to purchase a phone rather than for a service plan. A union federation last month asked the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate.
Binge On has also been criticized. The way it works is T-Mobile reduces video quality slightly — using what it calls optimized video — so that the video streaming doesn’t use as much cellular data to view.
Customers can choose to view at full resolution by changing their settings, but the data use required would come out of their data pool.
Binge On currently works with 24 services, including Netflix, Hulu and ESPN, but not with others, including Facebook and YouTube. That has drawn complaints that video content is being treated unequally, running into the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net-neutrality rules.
The FCC is reviewing the offering, but has not indicated if it will start an investigation.
The nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has also criticized the service, claiming the “optimization” of video streaming is really just throttling the speed at which content is delivered. The EFF called on the FCC to “step in and hold T-Mobile accountable.”
In a blog post from Nov. 10, the day T-Mobile launched Binge On, Legere said the offering does not selectively set priorities for content and that video streaming is managed like all other data.
“The only difference is on our customers’ bills,” he wrote. “And to those who try to sensationalize headlines by accusing T-Mobile of ‘throttling’ video, it’s flat out not true. We’re giving customers the ability to control how they apply their high-speed data toward mobile video. Chug your paid high-speed data, or sip it slowly. It’s up to you.”