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.