Counterpoint, a technology market research firm, has revealed its U.S. mobile market growth analysis for Q2 2017 and the results appear to show a return to form for providers and OEMs in a hyper-competitive market. Postpaid phone adds fell in at 1.25 million, with prepaid markets also contributing to the growth. Year-over-year, growth in the country's overall mobile market is up by 14 percent, with T-Mobile, Verizon, Samsung and ZTE leading the charge. The top 5 contributing manufacturers should come as no surprise and included Samsung, Apple, LG, ZTE, and TCL. Those companies combined market share grew by 3 percent year-over-year, with those five companies making up 91 percent of the market.
By the numbers, ZTE saw the most growth at 36 percent between prepaid sales through carriers and retailers. It also managed to maintain its lead in terms of retailer sales, with 21 percent of the market. Samsung's growth for the quarter rounded out to around 20 percent, which is attributable to the company's widely popular Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ flagship devices. Samsung also managed to take 31 percent of the overall market. LG, in the meantime, saw a sharp drop by 14 percent from Q1 2017 but did manage to capture 15 percent in terms of market share and grew 24 percent year-over-year. However, it isn't all good news for OEMs either. Motorola saw a drop of 2 percent year-over year and Google only managed to capture 0.3 percent of the market with its highly-lauded Pixel devices. On the carrier side of the equation, T-Mobile continued to see growth after a drop in Q1 2017 to 21.1 percent from 23.4 percent during Q2 2016. The carrier narrowly missed beating out Verizon, landing at 21.6 percent for the quarter. With that said, the company also managed to be the only carrier to see data revenues increase in spite of the best efforts to offer unlimited data plans from every carrier. Verizon retook its place at the top of the market, with 22 percent growth – up from 21.8 percent for both Q1 2017 and year-over-year. Verizon also saw the market's lowest churn rate, at 0.7 percent. On the other hand, both Sprint and AT&T continue to see drops in growth. Sprint's growth slowed to 14.6 percent, down from 16.3 percent and 19.2 percent from Q1 and Q2 2016, respectively. AT&T was down to 16.5 percent, coming from 17.6 percent in Q1 and 18.4 percent year-over-year.
Going into the rest of the year, Counterpoint expects T-Mobile to "win the majority of phone net adds through 2017." It attributes that prediction to the company's uncarrier initiatives and a new plan for seniors, which is a market currently dominated by Verizon and AT&T. The company has a high gains trend in ARPU B2B subscribers and also plans to add 3,000 new store locations by the year's end. Beyond that, T-Mobile is also among carriers pushing to roll out 600MHz-compatible devices. All carriers are expected to continue growing their digital market presence and have plans to push out 5G. In the meantime, each is also expected to deploy unlicensed LTE, LAA, mm-wave, and small cells with the goal of achieving GB-level LTE. BYOD activations are predicted to hit "critical mass," after doubling year-over-year, with a 20 percent growth for Q2 2017.