T-Mobile US will overtake Sprint Corp as the No. 3 wireless
U.S. carrier in subscribers by the end of the year. The declaration came a day
after T-Mobile said it surpassed Sprint as the No. 1 wireless provider for
prepaid customers, with 15.64 million users, compared with Sprint's 15.19
million. The figures put T-Mobile, which calls itself the
"uncarrier," well ahead of rivals AT&T and Verizon in
the prepaid market. Verizon and AT&T hold a larger share of the more
profitable postpaid U.S. subscriber base.
While T-Mobile has been adding record numbers of subscribers
through promotions and campaigns, Sprint customers have been leaving in droves
because of service problems arising from carrier's network overhaul.
Earlier this week, Sprint's parent company, SoftBank Corp walked
away from its offer to buy T-Mobile and replaced Sprint CEO Dan Hesse with
Miami businessman Marcelo Claure.
While T-Mobile's aggressive strategy has helped the company
turn around, its parent company, Deutsche Telekom has been concerned that its
lack of low-frequency spectrum and fixed-line infrastructure is hampering its
ability to compete.
The company will have to spend an estimated $5 billion to
$10 billion in the upcoming auction of radio frequency waves, according to one
analyst, the first public auction of valuable low-frequency airwaves in nearly
T-Mobile shares were down 4.3 percent and Sprint shares were
down 0.8 percent after falling nearly 20 percent on Wednesday.
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