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

Zach Epstein
January 15th, 2014 at 11:55 AM
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 worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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