At the current rate of growth, Consumer Cellular expects to surpass 3 million customers at some point in 2018. That's based on a long-running trend with the company's growth records over the past several years, beginning in at least 2016. Although not explosive, the United States' second-largest mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) has seen consistent and steady increases since then. From 2.1 million customers in 2016, Consumer Cellular reported 2.5 million customers in 2017, followed by a further increase to 2.75 million as of May. That's a growth rate of around 10-percent over the period, fueled primarily by the carrier's target audience of users aged 50 and older. While other providers in the country have begun to target that demographic too, Consumer Cellular has a long-standing agreement which allows advertising directly to AARP members via official AARP materials. That gives the MVNO a distinct advantage over competitors in that particular market, which remains a key strategy for the company.
If the current rate of growth continues, the company may end the year with just short of 3.03 million customers. That won't necessarily place it anywhere near the top MVNO. TracFone currently has approximately 23 million customers. However, it should help it keep its lead over newcomers to the segment such as Comcast's Xfinity Mobile and its 500,000 customers. Additionally, the company has shifted at least some of its focus to selling tablets such as the Android OS-based GrandPad. The tablet is highly customized to be very easy to use with large icons and text, as well as connectivity between other devices via a dedicated App. It also allows for administration conducted by a second user on their own device to keep everything running smoothly. While that's only available on a $40 monthly data plan, the size of tablet screens and the custom software could help spur further growth for the company. That's also another product advertised directly to AARP customers and among the only tablets advertised in that way.
Consumer Cellular's clear focus and steady push forward mark its position in the market as being exceptionally stable. That's especially true when compared to the nearly constant fluctuations experienced by most major carriers with regard to churn. For now, it appears as though the MVNO is well on track to continue that growth into the foreseeable future.