Feature Article

January 29, 2014

AT&T Lags Behind Verizon in Q4 Net Adds

AT&T added 566,000 wireless postpaid net adds in the fourth quarter of 2013, as well as 440,000 “branded tablet net adds,” figures some immediately will contrast to Verizon Wireless, which added 1.7 million retail net additions in the fourth quarter of 2013, excluding the impact of acquisitions. 

On an organic basis, Verizon Wireless added 1.6 million net new retail customers.

AT&T also added a new metric for the first time. AT&T said it added 1.2 million smartphones under contract, a figure that includes existing customer upgrades from basic or feature phones to smartphones, as well as devices sold to net new subscribers.

That new metric intends to highlight smartphone growth. But skeptics will point out that when service providers start changing the way they report growth, either growth would not look so robust using the traditional metrics, or service providers want to convince investors and analysts a new way of looking at revenue and subscriber growth is required.

AT&T added a net 566,000 customers on a contract, with 440,000 net new tablet customers.

In total, it added a net new 809,000 mobile subscribers when counting phones, tablets, connected devices business, as well as prepaid and reseller business, which both saw a loss.

In other parts of its business, AT&T also showed growth. Fixed network consumer revenue grew 2.9 percent, year over year.

Image via Shutterstock

Total U-verse revenues, including business revenues, were up 27.9 percent year over year.

AT&T also gained 630,000 high speed Internet subscribers, representing record annual net adds of 2.7 million. AT&T also gained 194,000 U-verse TV subscribers.

In the business customer segment, AT&T added 78,000 U-verse broadband customers, nearly doubling year-ago net adds.

Strategic business services (enterprise services) growth accelerates with revenues up 17.4 percent year over year, now more than 25 percent of fixed network business revenues.

“Mobile Share,” AT&T’s new data-focused group plans, now represent more than 21 million connections, or about 29 percent of postpaid subscribers.

Each account has an average of about three devices. Take rates on the higher-data plans continue to be strong with 30 percent of Mobile Share accounts choosing 10 gigabyte or higher plans.

The number of subscribers on usage-based data plans (tiered data and Mobile Share plans) continues to increase, AT&T said. About 73 percent, or 37.7 million, of postpaid smartphone subscribers are on usage-based data plans.

About 80 percent of customers on usage-based data plans have chosen the medium- and higher-data plans: 24 percent have chosen the higher plans, compared to 13 percent in the year-ago quarter.

To learn more about mobile business and commerce, check out the 2014 Mobile Payments Conference, an even collocated with ITEXPO in Miami, taking place this week at the Miami Beach Convention Center. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

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