Skip to main content

Are you an AT&T subscriber? Analysts say you may be part of a dying breed

att 5g evolution at t feat

When the competition is this fierce, someone has to lose. And right now, the loser in terms of mobile service provision looks to be AT&T. According to a new report by Cowen and Company Equity Research, the Dallas-based carrier is losing more subscribers on a quarterly basis than any other American carrier. AT&T’s biggest threat is posed by T-Mobile, which is the company customers most often tend to defect to. Considering the Un-Carrier is one of the few that still offers unlimited data and boasts relatively low prices, it isn’t a huge surprise that it is doing a pretty good job of cannibalizing business.

“When asking postpaid subscribers that have been with their carrier (less than) two years which carrier did they previously have, the top answer for current Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon respondents was ‘previously AT&T,’” the research firm said in a letter to investors. This differs from the results of previous surveys in which responses to that questions have been “more mixed.”

Unfortunately, this less-than-stellar news probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to AT&T. The company has noted in its own reports that it has lost postpaid phone subscriptions in the last eight consecutive quarters.

AT&T, however, seems to see the silver lining in the situation. The company claims it has “pivoted to a more surgical retention strategy of keeping high-value/high-margin subscribers.” Indeed, the carrier recently made a move that seems to reflect this strategy — following in the footsteps of Verizon, AT&T hiked up its upgrade and activation fees, which will now set you back $25 instead of the previous $20.

Sadly, it doesn’t look as though AT&T will be making any sort of a major comeback in the U.S. market. “Considering the format of the question (those that left a carrier over the previous two years), we believe this trend will continue, especially considering AT&T’s pivoted focus to DirecTV (and DirecTV Now) and its broader integrated solution strategy,” the Cowen and Company report concluded.

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
Control is free to play if you have an AT&T plan
Jesse Faden holding her gun and using her powers in Control promo art.

Gamers who happen to be AT&T customers are going to be having a happy Monday. The internet service provider announced that it's making Remedy's hit game Control -- specifically, Control: Ultimate Edition -- temporarily available to stream on their phones, tablets, and PC for free.

AT&T said that customers can instantly play Control: Ultimate Edition on any device connected to AT&T internet at no extra cost to them without downloading the game or waiting for the game to finish downloading. They can access the game with an AT&T postpaid mobility plan, which doesn't require a subscription.

Read more
T-Mobile wants you to test drive its 5G home internet
T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert

T-Mobile is taking a bold new step into 5G home internet with a new program that will make it easier for broadband customers to “break up with Big Internet.”

During a live-streamed event today, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert unveiled the carrier’s new “Internet Freedom” initiative, which he hopes will fix the “broken” broadband industry by giving folks an easy path to move to wireless 5G home internet.

Read more
5G coverage map: Where you can get 5G on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile
Qualcomm 5G at CES 2019

Gone are the days when 5G was just a buzzword and deployment was experimental. Today, 5G is an established worldwide networking protocol built into most high-quality and flagship mobile devices. 5G stands for fifth-generation mobile technology, and it's destined to replace 4G (and older protocols) worldwide with speeds up to 100 times faster.  Not only is it faster, but it is also more responsive for overall coverage and reception. That means faster uploading and downloading of documents, images, and videos. For home use, it means replacing fiber-optic cable with fast wireless connections.

There are two forms of 5G technology currently in use: Sub-6 relies on lower frequencies to deliver a much larger network, but the trade-off is that you'll receive only marginally faster speeds than you would with 4G. While mmWave connections rely on much higher frequencies that deliver dramatically faster download speeds, those radio waves can't physically travel long distances or make their way through obstacles like walls or even windows, which reduce signal strength.

Read more