Today, MetroPCS Communications reported its subscriber results for the fourth quarter of 2012. Overall, the prepaid telecom carrier reported a net subscriber loss of 93,237, not quite offsetting the gain of 197,410 subscribers reported at the end of 2011. In all, the company saw a subscriber decline of five percent year over year to 8.8 million.
MetroPCS’ subscriber loss is largely attributed to widespread public interest in high-end smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S III and Note II, which are often not available from prepaid providers until well after major mobile providers like Verizon do so — or are never made available on prepaid networks at all. Furthermore, these devices aren’t offset by large subsidies like the kind available from bigger post-paid carriers.
It is very difficult for MetroPCS to counter the competitive pricing offered by the likes of Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.
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These larger rivals have further put pressure on prepaid providers with the aggressive rollout of competitive prepaid price plans of their own. According to MetroPCS, “the ongoing consolidation in the wireless industry through mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures would make competition more severe in the coming days.”
That said, the news wasn’t all bad for the carrier, which reported healthy 4G LTE subscriber growth at 117 percent sequentially to hit a record 2.2 million. Obviously, MetroPCS is benefitting greatly from its “4G LTE for All” service plans.
As such, the carrier is banking heavily on its 4G plans going forward and with the competitive pricing it has put forward, it’s easy to imagine continued success: the company’s cheapest 4G LTE plan is a mere $40 per month. MetroPCS is also still the only wireless operator offering no-contract, unlimited 4G LTE for as low as $55 per month.
As such, it’s no surprise that the carrier has been introducing more 4G LTE smartphones like the ZTE Avid 4G, an Android 4.0-powered device that was released just before the new year, and the Samsung Galaxy Admire 4G.
Edited by Brooke Neuman