AT&T and Sprint may see lower postpaid adds from Q4 of 2017 according to a Wells Fargo analyst, who states that a "downward bias" for the fourth quarter of last year for postpaid adds for both carriers wouldn't be a surprising outcome, due to the lower amount of subscribers switching to either carrier as well as the lower number of subscribers upgrading within either carrier should they already be subscribers with AT&T or Sprint. Another driving factor in these expectations could be relating to the successful fourth quarters of last year that both Verizon and T-Mobile reported, both of which exceeded the predictions for each respective carrier's postpaid net adds.
This doesn't necessarily bode well for either AT&T or Sprint, but it also doesn't mean that both carriers will have gone through the three-month period without having added any new postpaid customers at all. That said there is still no exact numbers for both carriers as Sprint isn't expected to release its fourth quarter results until February 1st, while AT&T is expected to release its fourth quarter results on January 31st. In addition to the projected downward bias, AT&T and Sprint are both expected to have around 300,000 and 200,000 postpaid net adds respectively, which are less than the estimates for each, set at 359,000 and 247,000 respectively.
It might be hard to pin down exactly what all could attribute to AT&T's potentially lower than expected numbers, but the U.S.' second largest wireless carrier has been dealing with a labor dispute for the better part of last year, which resulted in a strike of employees for an entire weekend in 2017 that could have led to lower sales, only having recently ended that dispute. AT&T may be the country's second largest wireless carrier, but analysts believe that T-Mobile may now have more retail stores, which likely means more sales associates, and more employees to potentially bring in more subscribers which could switch from other companies. This may not have any impact on AT&T's Q4 2017 numbers but it could have an impact on things going forward. For Sprint, it'll be interesting to see how the company starts out this year and beyond as a recent report about its ending promotions detailed the possibility of those higher plan prices for some customers having a negative impact on postpaid churn.