Anyone that's a T-Mobile or Sprint fan were waiting on Q4 numbers to come out to see who would take the #3 and 4 spot at the end of 2014. As the two finished Q3 2014 very close together, and preliminary numbers that both companies put out back in January put them about 1,000 customers apart. That's a very slim margin there. Today, T-Mobile put out their full, official Q4 numbers as well as year end numbers and their conference call was this morning. While it was not mentioned in their press releases, T-Mobile's CEO John Legere stated that T-Mobile has overtaken Sprint.
On Sprint's numbers over the last few years, Legere stated, "Going into 2013, Sprint had 55 million customers. Going into '14, they had 55 million customers. Going into this year, they have 55 million customers. In that period, they lost 3.3 million postpaid customers as well." Which Legere is correct, Sprint has hovered in the 55 million area for years. Legere also gave us a history lesson on T-Mobile's numbers, "T-Mobile had 33 million customers. We merged with MetroPCS and went to 42 million customers and we've since added 13 million customers to get up to, guess what, 55 million customers." So that would make you think they are tied right? Because 55 million = 55 million.
According to the outspoken CEO, Sprint is using some shady tactics to boost their numbers. Saying that they are including inactive MVNO customers when they are reporting their customer base. Currently, Sprint and T-Mobile are dead even. Legere claims that in "the next quarter or two," T-Mobile will be miles ahead of Sprint. While we can't really argue with that, given the history of these two companies in the past year or two. Sprint has been making some huge changes and adding boat loads of customers. So it may take longer than just 6 months for T-Mobile to really have a substantial lead of Sprint. But it is a start.
You can watch the entire conference call with T-Mobile US over on their YouTube channel.
Update: Sprint reached out to us to explain how they count MVNO customers, their statement is below:
"Sprint methodology for determining the number of MVNO connections has not changed and has been discussed for several years in our quarterly filings. Sprint stands by its subscriber count and is focused on offering customers a great network and compelling value not which carrier is the largest. "