Last but not least, we take a look at T-Mobile's third quarter earnings. Step up to the plate, T-Mobile, it's your turn!
In the third quarter, the nation's fourth largest wireless carrier lost 77,000 net retail wireless customers, a dramatic turn from the 670,000 additions in the same quarter last year and the 325,000 in the second quarter. T-Mobile lost a total of 140,000 postpaid subscribers in the quarter, and gained 63,000 prepaid subscribers in the same time period (hence the 77,000 number you see above). T-Mobile's ARPU (average revenue per user) was at $47 in the third quarter, down from $48 in the prior quarter and $52 in Q3 of 2008. Churn hovered at 2.4 percent, higher than the 2.2 percent reported in the second quarter of 2009 and flat when compared to the same timeframe last year. Data ARPU sat at $10 for the third quarter; an increase from $9.90 in the previous quarter and $8.90 in Q3 of 2008. The carrier had 32.14 million subscribers at the end of September.
T-Mobile blames the subscriber losses on fewer gross adds and more churn as a result of the FlexPay program, which allows those with credit-challenged backgrounds to obtain a wireless device on a two-year agreement. One thing is universal across all of the financial reports released in the past few weeks, however: data revenue is going up. As subscribers turn to smartphones and other data-centric devices, carriers are reaping the benefits, and it shows on paper.