The four largest U.S. wireless carriers ended 2009 with the following subscriber tallies, according to the Associated Press (News - Alert), with the fourth-quarter change in parentheses:
1. Verizon Wireless: 91.2 million (added 2.2 million)
2. AT&T Inc.: 85.1 million (added 2.7 million)
3. Sprint Nextel (News - Alert) Corp: 48.1 million (lost 148,000)
4. T-Mobile USA: 33.8 million (added 371,000)
Information Week reported that smartphone maker Palm said sales are “running far below its previous forecast,” which the journal called “an indication that the company continues to struggle in the highly competitive market increasingly steered by trendsetters Apple and Google (News - Alert).”
And CNet reported recently that T-Mobile USA “gained ground in signing up new subscribers during the fourth quarter, but much of the surge came from its prepaid business.”
Palm’s troubles “in part stem from its choice of carriers in launching the smartphones last year, partnering with Sprint Nextel, a much weaker national carrier than leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T,” Information Week said, adding that Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone (News - Alert) Group, “started carrying Palm smartphones last month, and AT&T is expected to follow suit soon.”
But of course both carriers will concentrate on the phones they sell exclusively – “Verizon (News - Alert) offers Motorola’s Droid, which runs Google’s Android operating system; and AT&T is the exclusive carrier in the United States for Apple’s iPhone.”
T-Mobile USA, the smallest of the big four nationwide carriers, “said it added a total of 371,000 new subscribers in the fourth quarter,” CNet reported, adding “this is an improvement over customer losses from the third quarter. But it’s still lower than customer gains the company saw in the fourth quarter of 2008… the company is still struggling to expand the highly valuable contract customer base.”
Also earlier this week TMC reported that Verizon Wireless has been ranked highest in customer care among wireless phone service providers in J.D. Power and Associates’2010 Wireless Customer Care Performance Study, Volume 1.
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Marisa Torrieri