Skip to main content

T-Mobile received more data requests from the government than Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon

t mobile sprint 200 gift dish and to merge
Image used with permission by copyright holder
T-Mobile issued its first ever transparency report, and while Magenta might be smaller than Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, it received more government data requests than any one of them.

According to the report, the likes of which have become popular as companies are pressured into divulging more information about such requests, T-Mobile fielded a total of 668,940 government requests for data, with 2014 seeing 351,940 such requests. This was more than Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, which had 308,937, 263,755, and 287,559 requests, respectively.

Out of those 351,940 government data requests, T-Mobile received 177,549 criminal and civil subpoenas and 17,316 warrant orders. On the always-interesting issue of wiretap orders, T-Mobile received more than AT&T or Verizon with over 3,000 such requests, though Sprint came out on top on that metric. Sprint received 3,772 orders, AT&T received 2,420 orders, and Verizon received 1,433.

Equally notable in T-Mobile’s information release is the evidence of  how much, or how little, customers seem to care about their information. In 2014, T-Mobile only received 849 data requests from their own customers, a sharp decrease from the 1,724 such requests T-Mobile fielded in 2013. Finally, T-Mobile fielded 8 requests from foreign governments, a small increase from the 5 such requests it received in 2013.

It’s intriguing to ask why the U.S. government issued more data requests to T-Mobile than to Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, even though they are all larger than Magenta. In addition, T-Mobile received more than twice as many wiretap orders as Verizon, the United States’ largest carrier.

One might chalk up the relatively large number of data requests to T-Mobile’s visibility, which has increased over the years thanks to its Uncarrier initiative, which involves everything from killing traditional two-year contracts to upgrading to a new smartphone twice a year. Regardless of the reason, companies aren’t legally obligated to divulge any of this information, even though firms such as Google, Apple, and Twitter, among many others, seem to be making it a yearly ritual.

Amazon was the most recent company to issue a transparency report, with the online retailer earning the distinction of being the last company in the Fortune 500 to issue such a report.

Editors' Recommendations

Williams Pelegrin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Williams is an avid New York Yankees fan, speaks Spanish, resides in Colorado, and has an affinity for Frosted Flakes. Send…
MediaTek’s T800 chipset will bring ultrafast 5G to more devices than ever
MediaTek Processor

MediaTek is on a roll again with a series of impressive chipsets that promise to revolutionize 5G technology from several angles, including taking it beyond smartphones to devices like fixed wireless 5G routers, mobile hotspots, vehicles, and smart home devices.

While the company has already impressed us with some cutting-edge technology in the new Dimensity 9200 this week, it turns out that's just the tip of a much bigger iceberg. MediaTek is also using its modem chipmaking skills to produce smaller and more energy-efficient chips capable of powering the next generation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices without compromising on performance.
The MediaTek T800

Read more
T-Mobile made a $325 suitcase that you may actually want to buy
A woman standing at the edge of a dock with the bright pink T-Mobile Un-carrier On suitcase.

T-Mobile has been pushing its customers to travel more with its Coverage Beyond initiative, and now the company is offering something completely new for travelers: the Un-carrier On smart suitcase. Smart suitcases have been around for a while, giving owners access to things like USB charging ports while on the go. However, T-Mobile's limited-edition carry-on might just be one of the best ever made.

The Un-carrier On offers a plethora of features perfect for frequent fliers, such as wireless smartphone charging, USB-C charging ports for phones and more, a removable rechargeable 10,000mAh power bank, and a flat top that serves as a portable workstation for laptops. The Un-carrier On also is a pretty solid suitcase — sporting Transportation Security Administration-approved combination locks, smart tags for easy luggage tracking, and 360-degree spinning wheels.

Read more
It’s late 2022, and Verizon and AT&T still can’t beat T-Mobile’s 5G network
The T-Mobile logo on a smartphone.

It’s been 10 months since Verizon and AT&T flipped the switch on their new C-band 5G spectrum, but it appears both carriers still have their work cut out for them if they want to catch up to T-Mobile.

Market analyses and independent tests have agreed for years that T-Mobile is the fastest and most reliable 5G carrier in the U.S. That’s not surprising as it had a massive advantage by holding licenses for the crucial midrange spectrum that provides the best balance between range and speed. While Verizon’s early high-frequency mmWave rollouts allowed it to boast raw speeds that were significantly faster, those were confined to about 1% of its subscriber base.

Read more