Compass Intelligence just completed the final assessment of Q3 2017 and also compared this quarter’s results to Q3 2017. We do this each quarter to understand the subscriber and share changes, as well as evaluate the key trends taking place in the wireless industry for both consumer and B2B.  We have been tracking the quarterly metrics since 2007, and have extensive models in B2B, market share, Share of Gross Adds, and other deep dive analysis. Some metrics are our own internal modeling and estimates, as the market does not report in all categories.  A snapshot of Q2 2017 is below.

Compass Intelligence compared last quarter’s results to this quarter to show which metrics showed improvement over others (denoted by + or -).

top 4 mobile carriersBelow are additional thoughts and insights based on the quarter and comparison to Q2 2016:

  • Summary:
    • Overall Q3 demonstrated a fairly good quarter, as all carriers experienced positive net connections compared to last quarter but all four carriers experienced churn rate increases.
    • AT&T added the most connections, adding 3.2M connections with about 30% coming from new prepaid subscribers.
    • Verizon and T-Mobile both experienced improvements for 8 out of the ten metrics.
    • When looking at subscribers only and removing M2M/IoT and Wholesale, T-Mobile had the most net adds growing by just over 1.0M Q3 subscribers (about 36% coming from prepaid).
    • About 70% of overall prepaid adds for Q3 came from AT&T, as they led in prepaid subscriber adds.
    • Unlike last quarters drop on overall connections, Q3 2017 experienced a climb of just under 5.9M connections or 1.4%.
    • Retail Subscribers for the Top 4 carriers climbed to 305.8M, or an addition of 3M added for the quarter.
    • All four carriers experience an increase in their churn rate, which may mean customers are more open to special offers, deals, and promotions.
    • The market reached a total of 35.5M tablets ending Q3 2017, with AT&T adding 420K in Q3.
  • REVENUE: A change from the last two quarters, all carriers reported increased service revenue QoQ with the exception of Sprint.
    • Verizon increased its revenue the most from Q2 to Q3 2017, increasing revenue by $219K
    • Combined the industry experienced a total of $43.7M this quarter, with revenue growing by about .335M compared to last quarter.
    • Over the last four quarters, the top 4 carriers experienced a 2.6% decline in wireless service revenues.
    • All four carriers ended the quarter with positive postpaid net adds, adding 1.6M retail subscribers for the quarter.
    • T-Mobile led in postpaid adds in Q3, adding 817K followed by Verizon who added598K.
    • Sprint came in 3rd adding in 168K postpaid subscribers in Q3.
    • Total industry connections reached 406.6M at the end of Q3 2017 for the top 4 carriers
    • Total industry subscriber base: 418M (Includes ALL MNOs and MVNOs, includes IoT/M2M)
    • Total smartphone subscribers=336M
    • Total Connected Devices reached 72.9M for the industry

As revenue continues to experience overall decline, competition also seems to be heating up as customers are attracted to competing offers, promotions, and deals. Wholesale business seems to be a very challenging area for all the carriers, as the last four quarters experienced an overall decline of 28%. Despite the hype we all hear about the IoT and connected devices landscape, overall growth over the past year is only about 10%, which is not typical in a market still leaning on the left side of the hype cycle. The B2B or business subscriber side is an area we expect to see continued push down market, as carriers continue to look for new revenue streams and roll-out add-on device services, software, and management products to the business portfolio. This upcoming Q4 and holiday season is expected to see slightly higher device sales, which may boost revenues for all four carriers.


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