We have to admit we were pretty surprised last week when AT&T made a pretty drastic move to preempt a rumored T-Mobile plan to pay off subscribers’ early termination fees if they switch over from rival carriers. However, it turns out that AT&T and other wireless carriers might have real reason to sweat: The latest numbers from Kantar Worldpanel show that T-Mobile gained some serious momentum throughout 2013 and actually recorded more mobile sales than Sprint did for the first time over the three-month period ending November 2013.
In all, T-Mobile accounted for 13.3% of all mobile phone sales in the United States over the quarter, which placed it third behind Verizon and AT&T. What’s more, Kantar says that T-Mobile “also was the only major carrier to see year-over-year growth, up 6.3 percentage points” from the same quarter in 2012. The firm credit’s T-Mobile’s aggressive “uncarrier” moves with driving consumer enthusiasm for a brand that had long lagged behind as America’s No. 4 wireless carrier.
“T-Mobile’s ‘un-carrier’ marketing strategy, launched earlier in 2013, has succeeded by attracting feature phone owners looking to upgrade to their first smartphone,” Kantar explains. “Among T-Mobile smartphone buyers in November, 55% of those who purchased LG and Nokia smartphones were first-time smartphone buyers, compared to just 39% of Apple customers.”