T-Mobile leapfrogs Sprint to become the third-largest U.S. carrier

T-Mobile Event 3/18/2015
Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends
It’s becoming a tired cliche, but T-Mobile really can’t seem to do any wrong. Thanks to a strong second quarter, the Un-Carrier has leapfrogged Sprint to become the third-largest carrier in the United States by number of subscribers.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere claimed in February that his firm had unseated Sprint from its third-place perch, and now Sprint’s Q2 earnings report provided empirical evidence. Head of Sprint Marcelo Claure said the cell service provider’s gain of 675,000 new connections bolstered its ranks to 56.8 million. T-Mobile, according to its June 30 numbers, has reached a total of 58.9 million subscribers.

News of the upset comes on the heels of better-than-expected T-Mobile earnings. Analysts predicted Q2 profit of 18 cents per share, a number the carrier handily beat with a profit of $361 million or 42 cents per share. Revenue was $8.2 billion, up about 14 percent year over year.

T-Mobile’s impressive growth might be attributed to its relentless “un-carrier” marketing. In the past year alone, it’s introduced a leasing program with unlimited phone upgrades, a fee-free “Mobile without Borders” roaming plan for Mexico and Canada, and a discounted family plan. The response has unsurprisingly been positive — T-Mobile ranked first among major U.S. carriers in the latest J.D. Power study of customer satisfaction.

Despite the second quarter’s turn of events, though, Sprint’s hardly down for the count. Q2 showed improvement for the struggling incumbent, which shed 620,000 postpaid customers in the same period a year ago. Since those losses, Sprint has revamped its own plan pricing and has introduced benefits like the $70 a month “iPhone for Life” leasing service, changes which might’ve contributed to the second quarter’s record low churn rate of 1.56 percent.

Sprint’s financials are on the rise as well. Its Q2 loss — $20 million — was less than market researchers were predicting. And the cell provider now expects to earn between $7.2 and $7.6 billion this year, up from an earlier estimate of $6.5 and $6.9 billion.

“Over the past year, Sprint has made meaningful progress in our turnaround by improving our network performance and enhancing our overall value proposition,” said Claure in a statement. Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son expressed similar confidence in the carrier’s direction.

If this past quarter was indeed indicative of a turnaround for Sprint, expect it and T-Mobile to trade blows in the months to come … assuming, of course, that Dish Network doesn’t have other plans.

Movies & TV

The show cost how much?! The priciest original series on Netflix

Netflix has spent big bucks on original series, which might be part of the reason why its subscription pricing is going up. Here's a look at some of the priciest series from the streaming service.

T-Mobile 5G rollout: Here is everything you need to know

2019 will be a huge year for T-Mobile. Not only is a merger with Sprint likely, but T-Mobile is also in the midst of building out its next-generation mobile service. Here's everything you need to know about the T-Mobile 5G rollout.

Goodbye, Machinima: YouTube gaming channel pulls the plug after 13 years

Machinima, a YouTube gaming channel that was launched in 2006, has suddenly shut down, with all of its videos set to private. The #RIPMachinima hashtag is now making the rounds in social media to reminisce about the channel's content.

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

Apple’s iPhone battery offer was reportedly way more popular than expected

As many as 11 million iPhone owners reportedly made use of Apple's cheaper battery replacement offer that launched in 2018 in response to the iPhone throttling debacle — some 10 times more than the company had apparently expected.
Home Theater

Cord-cutting has grown by 48 percent in 8 years, according to Nielsen

People are continuing to ditch cable but not all cord-cutters are the same. In fact, there are two distinct groups within the cord-cutting universe, with a very small, yet growing third group that's worth paying attention to.

Huawei in for a rough year as feds investigate alleged trade secrets theft

Huawei is also facing issues in the U.S., but it doesn't seem like that will end any time soon. According to a new report, the company is facing a federal investigation in the U.S. for allegedly stealing trade secrets.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.

OpenTable points can now be used to whittle down cost of a hotel stay

Have some OpenTable Dining Points built up? Now those points can also be used to make your own hotel discounts. OpenTable is teaming up with Kayak to use points as discounts on participating hotels.

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.

Google is buying mysterious smartwatch tech from The Fossil Group for $40 million

Google is about to step up its smartwatch game. The company has agreed to buy an unnamed smartwatch technology from The Fossil Group for a hefty $40 million. Considering the acquisition, it's clear Google is serious about smartwatches.

Windows 10 Mobile is dead: Switch to iOS or Android, Microsoft says

A Microsoft support page detailed the company's plans to end support for Windows 10 Mobile in less than a year. Users with devices powered by the platform are suggested to switch to iOS or Android devices.

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging just skyrocketed

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.

Verizon 5G rollout: Here is everything you need to know

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.