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Study reveals which wireless carrier’s subscribers want to switch the most

Wireless Churn Study

Postpaid churn, or the number of postpaid subscribers that stop using a provider’s service during a specified period of time, is always a stat industry watchers keep an eye on when it comes to wireless carriers. Why? The U.S. wireless market is so saturated that most new subscribers a carrier sees in any given quarter are coming over from another carrier. With fourth-quarter financial results from each major carrier on the way, Cowen and Company has published its Q4 study on subscriber intent with regard to switching wireless service providers. Who might be the biggest winners and losers of Q4 when it comes to postpaid churn? Cowen’s new study could give us a good idea.

According to the firm’s survey, which was recently picked up by Wireless Week, both of the country’s top wireless carriers saw solid results in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter last year. Despite constant thrashing from T-Mobile and its outspoken CEO John Legere, AT&T saw the lowest percentage of postpaid subscribers looking to switch at 11.1%. That figure is down dramatically from 31.6% in the prior quarter. Meanwhile Verizon came in at 17%, up from 15.7% in the third quarter.

T-Mobile moved into the No. 2 spot as the study found that just 15.4% of the carrier’s postpaid subscribers were looking to switch in the fourth quarter. In the firm’s Q3 study, it found that a staggering 42.9% of subscribers were considering a switch, making T-Mobile the most improved carrier by a landslide.

Rounding out the top-four national U.S. wireless carriers was Sprint, as Cowen found that 31% of the carrier’s postpaid subscribers were interested in switching last quarter. That figure is a solid improvement compared to Q3, however, when a similar study found that 41.7% of subscribers were considering a switch.

Cowen and Company’s study is based on a survey of 1,876 respondents.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.