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T-Mobile Won The U.S. Growth Battle Last Quarter

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Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, a market research firm, released a report on U.S. mobile phone carriers for the calendar quarter ending March 31, 2016.

According to CIRP's findings, T-Mobile US Inc TMUS 0.99% saw the greatest gains in subscribers and retained customers at a similar rate as its peers with much greater switching from other carriers. On the other hand, Sprint Corp S 1.22% saw "significant" customer gains but lost customers "at almost the same magnitude."

AT&T Inc. T 0.51% and Verizon Communications Inc. VZ 0.42% both experienced customer gains that "barely" offset losses to the point they only "slightly" grew in the quarter.

The report concluded that T-Mobile augmented its customer base 42 percent from its peers and Sprint grew its customer base 30 percent. Verizon and AT&T saw smaller competitor customer attraction rates at 14 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

"Once again, T-Mobile showed it can attract significant numbers of new customers, while retaining its current ones," said Josh Lowitz, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP. "It attracted new customers from other carriers at an astonishing rate, attracting another 42% of their base of existing customers who activated a phone in the quarter. Sprint also gained a significant percentage of customers relative to its base, but lost almost as many. AT&T and Verizon saw existing customer losses slightly exceed gains, and only with the addition of first time phone buyers, did they grow slightly."

"New phone buyers also accounted for some growth," said Mike Levin, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP. "While the data suggests that 9% of AT&T and 6% of T-Mobile growth came from first-time phone buyers, we think there is some noise in this result. Still, new phone customers gravitated to the major carriers, instead of to the regional and pre-paid carriers, where they had started for many quarters before this."

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