The third quarter of the year isn't quite over (it technically ends tomorrow, September 30th), but that hasn't stopped industry analysts from forecasting the numbers that they think the wireless carriers will post in their earnings. According to UBS, both Sprint and T-Mobile will post more than they originally forecasted. They revised their estimates from 700,000 postpaid phone subscribers for T-Mobile in the third quarter to 820,000. While Sprint also got a bump, but a much smaller one from 219,000 to 235,000.
When it comes to the big two wireless carriers – that'd be Verizon and AT&T – things don't look as good. AT&T has seen their forecast revised to 230,000 net losses, up from 190,000 net losses. Verizon was expected to add 360,000 for the quarter, but UBS now expects them to add closer to 92,000. That's a pretty big difference for Verizon, and definitely not a good number for AT&T, and this goes to show that the competition that the smaller two carriers are forcing on the industry is really having an effect on Verizon and AT&T. As reported yesterday, UBS changed AT&T to "neutral" from buy. Now Sprint and Verizon are also rated at neutral with T-Mobile being their top pick for "buy".
Earnings reports for the third quarter should start around the end of October. AT&T will be announcing theirs on October 25th, Verizon on October 20th, meanwhile Sprint and T-Mobile have not announced when they will announce their earnings, but it should be around the same time. What will be interesting from these reports is how close UBS and other analysts are in terms of the numbers these carriers actually post for the quarter. It'll also be interesting to see how Verizon and AT&T make up for their losses for the quarter. AT&T has been losing postpaid phone subscribers for quite some time now, and it doesn't appear to be changing any time soon for them.
With Q4 right around the corner, the competition is only going to heat up, as this is the holiday quarter and where most of these carriers make some pretty huge numbers, thanks to people wanting to buy new phones and upgrade their old phones for the holiday. So expect many more promotions from T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T, as well as even stiffer competition.