It is now being suggested that T-Mobile is either on the brink of, or has already surpassed AT&T in the total number of stores in the US. This is based on a recent research report from Wave7 Research, which suggests T-Mobile is quickly closing the gap with AT&T in this respect. To be clear, while the research is suggesting that T-Mobile is significantly increasing the number of stores it has, and at a fast rate, this is being seen more as a two-prong issue due to AT&T reportedly closing a number of stores at the same time. Therefore, the suggestion is while T-Mobile is organically catching up, AT&T is also lessening the gap between the two, albeit not quite to the same degree.
For example, Wave7 is quoted as noting how it is expected T-Mobile will have more than five thousand stores operational by the close of 2017. A number which is believed to see it surpass AT&T when taking into account the additional closures of AT&T stores. However, these numbers are not official and therefore are still open to adjustment. In either case it is clear that T-Mobile has been on an opening spree during 2017 and not one which has suddenly been bolstered within the last few months. As early as July of 2017 the uncarrier had already announced that it had opened almost 1,000 new stores by that point in 2017 alone. With the expectation another 500 stores would be opened before the year closed out – taking it to its expected five thousand number for the year end.
Of course, one of the reasons T-Mobile is investing heavily in greater store presence in the US is due to the expansion of its network in general. Compared to before where T-Mobile did not have as strong of a national network, there would have been less need for the company to expand to certain areas. However, as T-Mobile has expanded its customer reach, it seems keen on further being able to cater to those customers through opening physical stores. Which when taking into consideration, does not mean that the growth in T-Mobile's store number compared to AT&T's number is an indication of anything other than the number of stores each carrier operates. As this is more representative of the balancing out of each carrier’s retail network based on their previous network, than necessarily one where comparison conclusions can be drawn.