Many of us are aware of Verizon’s advertisements, boasting their huge bright red network maps, and comparing them to AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile’s coverage, and saying they are the ‘nation’s largest network’. That has been true since 2009, when Verizon bought Alltel Wireless, and continued to be true until the results of the first quarter of 2014 were published recently, with some surprising, but not unexpected, findings.
Chetan Sharma Consulting, in their quarterly market update for 2014 Q1, found that AT&T, since adding the subscribers from Leap Wireless, has “virtually tied Verizon for market share at 34%”. This comes as little surprise, since, of late, AT&T have been pushing their new ‘connected device’ plans, where there is one plan, multiple numbers and devices, all pulling form a single pool of data, at a lower price than each device alone with individual pools of data. These new plans, which Verizon instituted soon after AT&T, have a strong hold in AT&T’s network with a 48% market share of all connected devices.
Verizon and AT&T together accounted for 68% of the mobile data revenue and together had 68% of the subscriber base, and since they’re tied for subscribers it makes sense. Verizon and AT&T have had much success with the connected plans, and the number of users on those plans has increased greatly. AT&T has been adding tablet subscribers faster than smartphone subscribers with postpaid, or pay after you use, as compared to prepaid where you pay first for what you want, then go on your way. In addition, 45% of AT&T postpaid subscriptions are attached to plans of 10 GB+ of data.
As expected, iPhones accounted for a large portion of this quarter’s devices sold, and AT&T leads the pack again, having sold 36% of all iPhones this quarter. AT&T was also part of the top ten Patent top 10 Rankings carriers, along with NTT DoCoMo, Telecom Italia, Swisscom, SK Telecom and the other three major U.S. carriers, to name a few.
AT&T has been doing nothing besides growing this past quarter, and will most likely not stop growing because they have tied for lead carrier by subscription. Many consumers seem to prefer T-Mobile’s model of paying no down-payment when picking up a new device, which can be upgraded whenever, technically, and pay off the device’s full, unsubsidized price over the course of your time with the carrier, in tandem with paying your monthly bill. Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T have all adopted this new model, and it seems to be doing them well, especially paired with AT&T’s network and pricing for larger amounts of data. Keep an eye on AT&T, because it may take the lead this next quarter of 2014.