YOU ARE AT:WirelessBy the Numbers: Top U.S. Wireless Service Providers for the Third Quarter

By the Numbers: Top U.S. Wireless Service Providers for the Third Quarter

The companies listed below represent the 12 largest national and regional licensed wireless carriers and mobile virtual network operators based on subscriber numbers at the end of the third quarter of this year.

There was no movement among the top carriers when compared with numbers from the second quarter. AT&T Mobility remained at the top of the list with nearly 75 million subscribers. The carrier said the quarter marked its strongest postpaid net additions in company history, including 2.4 million 3G iPhone activations.

Verizon Wireless remained a close second with 70.8 million subscribers. As in previous quarters, Verizon edged out AT&T in net subscriber additions for the quarter, helped by its acquisition of Rural Cellular Corp. (previously ranked 10th on the list) in early August, which added 630,000 new subscribers to Verizon Wireless’ count.

Verizon is also close to finalizing its deal to acquire Alltel Communications L.L.C., which would push the carrier into the No. 1 spot.

For its part, AT&T has a pending merger with 12th-ranked Centennial Wireless that was announced last month.

Third-ranked Sprint Nextel continues to face significant challenges, losing 1.3 million customers in the third quarter.

RCR Wireless has also included mobile virtual network operators in its Wireless Service Providers list, for the first time. Tracfone, Virgin Mobile USA Inc. and Boost Mobile placed sixth, eighth and tenth, respectively.

However, the MVNOs are shaded on this list to distinguish them from licensed service providers. Virgin Mobile operates on Sprint Nextel’s network and Boost is the prepaid offering of Sprint Nextel. Thus, these subscribers are tallied in the counts of both Sprint Nextel and its MVNOs. Tracfone, which is owned by international carrier America Movil, operates on several carrier networks, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and others.

The RCR Wireless “By the Numbers” list is the property of RCR Wireless and should not be construed as an endorsement of any company listed.

Top U.S. Wireless Service Providers for the Third Quarter
Operator
Subscriber Base*
Q3 Net Additions
Total Churn
ARPU
Data ARPU
1. AT&T Mobility
74.9 million
2 million
1.70%
$50.80
$12.30
2. Verizon Wireles
70.8 million
2.1 million**
1.33%
$52.18
$13.45
3. Sprint Nextel
50.5 million
-1.3 million
N/P
$56
$13.50
4. T-Mobile USA
32.1 million
670,000
3.00%
$52
$8.90
5. Alltel
13.8 million
335,152
2.02%
$55.62
$8.99
6. Tracfone
10.4 million
341,000
3.80%
$11
N/P
7. U.S. Cellular
6.176 million
-18,000
N/P
$54.59
N/P
8. Virgin Mobile
5.2 million
-3,627
5.50%
$20
N/P
9. MetroPCS
4.8 million
249,000
4.80%
$40.42
N/P
10. Boost Mobile
3.9 million
-329,000
8.20%
$31
N/P
11. Leap Wireless
3.5 million
156,000
4.20%
$42.95
N/P
12. Centennial
1.1 million
-2,200
2.70%
$71.00
N/P

N/P=Not Provided

Source: Company Web sites

*Subscriber figures include the total of postpaid, prepaid and wholesale subscribers where applicable.

**includes 630,000 net adds from its acquisition of Rural Cellular, 120,000 of which will be transferred to another carrier (1.5 million organic net customer additions)

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