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US wireless operators added a net 5.9 million connections in 1Q16, to end the quarter with 414.5 million total wireless connections. The number of prepaid subscriptions reached 78.4 million at end-1Q16, with T-Mobile adding the most in the quarter, at 807,000.


  • T-Mobile and AT&T, with their strong prepaid brands Metro PCS and Cricket, respectively, were the only operators to gain prepaid subscribers in 1Q16. T-Mobile added 807,000, and AT&T added 500,000.
  • Tracfone introduced a lease-to-own device-financing scheme for its StraightTalk brand, called StraightTalk Plus, which differs from those offered by the four major operators.
  • Without device subsidies built into two-year contracts, postpaid service plan prices compete much more closely with monthly prepaid prices.

Features and Benefits

  • Learn about prepaid year-on-year growth trends by major US operator.
  • Compare total, postpaid, and prepaid subscriber and market-share trends by operator year-on-year.
  • Compare US operator KPIs and major activities in the quarter, especially as they relate to prepaid.

Key questions answered

  • What was the customer segment mix by US operator at end-1Q16?
  • How did prepaid churn rates in 1Q16 compare across US operators, and how have they changed over the past five quarters?
  • What trends in the market are helping to grow the BYOD trend?

Table of contents


  • Introduction
  • Download 1: US Prepaid Update, July 2016

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