UPDATE: Sprint has responded to T-Mobile CEO John Legere's claim that Sprint recently changed the way that it handles inactive MVNO accounts. Sprint says, "Sprint methodology for determining the number of MVNO connections has not changed and has been discussed for several years in our quarterly filings."
As I noted earlier today when T-Mobile announced its Q4 2014 results, if you compare the total subscriber numbers reported by T-Mo and Sprint, it appears that Sprint is still barely ahead of T-Mo. However, T-Mobile CEO John Legere says that his carrier has already beaten Sprint.
During the conference call that was held this morning to discuss T-Mobile’s Q4 2014 results, CEO John Legere was asked when his carrier would pass Sprint, and he responds by saying that T-Mobile’s already done so. Going into 2015, Sprint had 55 million customers, and so did T-Mobile. Legere explains, though, that there’s “a little footnote” in Sprint’s filings that says that there are 1.7 million MVNO accounts with “no usage or revenue greater than six months.”
Legere also says that AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile typically turn off inactive MVNO accounts after 60 to 90 days. However, Sprint recently changed its policy to extend that inactive period to six months.
So yeah, according to the official numbers reported by Sprint and T-Mobile, the two carriers are neck and neck, but Legere says that T-Mo has squeaked by Sprint. However, Legere says that T-Mobile’s lead will become more apparent “in the next quarter or two,” so it may not be too long before even the officially reported numbers show T-Mobile surpassing Sprint.
Sprint and T-Mobile have long been the number three and four U.S. carriers, respectively, but T-Mobile’s recent Un-carrier momentum looks like it could finally change that. And while that may not mean much to the end user, it’s exciting news for a T-Mobile that was in pretty rough shape just a couple of years ago.