T-Mobile Loses More Contract Subscribers

T-Mobile USA continues to lose hundreds of thousands of customers on contract as U.S. regulators analyze how the mobile operators pending merger with AT&T will affect competition.

In the second quarter, the fourth-largest U.S. mobile operator lost 281,000 subscribers on contract, marking an improvement from 382,000 customer losses in the first quarter. It still wasnt much to cheer about considering T-Mobile used to be in the business of growing its customer base. In the same quarter a year ago, the company wooed 106,000 customers on contract.

While contract churn continues to be high, we are focused on upgrading our customers to higher quality products and concentrating on retaining our loyal customers,” T-Mobile USA President and CEO Phillip Humm said.

Including all subscribers, Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile lost 50,000 customers in the quarter to end the period with 33.6 million customers. Over the last two quarters combined, T-Mobile has lost 149,000 customers.

T-Mobiles parent, Deutsche Telekom, may see a silver lining in the numbers because the subscriber losses could bolster its position before the Federal Communications Commission and U.S. Department of Justice that AT&Ts $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA wont severely harm competition in the U.S. wireless market.

The merger would make AT&T the largest wireless operator in the United States with more than 132 million customers based on second-quarter figures. AT&T added 1.1 million customers in the second quarter and now serves 98.6 million customers, including 68.4 million postpaid subscribers.

AT&Ts smaller rival, Sprint, and other critics claim the deal will create a duopoly” in the U.S. wireless market between AT&T and Verizon Wireless that will drive up prices and reduce choices. Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. wireless provider, supports 89.7 million retail customers and 16.6 million wholesale and other connections.

AT&T has asserted consumers have ample choices in the U.S. wireless market, noting that most Americans have a choice of at least five facilities-based wireless providers.

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