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US wireless operators added 8.3 million new connections in 2H16, to end with 428.8 million total wireless connections. Prepaid subscriber count reached 79.5 million at end-4Q16, led by 2H16 net additions of 1.23 million by T-Mobile. Sprint saw the largest subscriber decline, losing 928,000 subs over the same period.


  • AT&T and T-Mobile, with their strong sub-brands Cricket and Metro PCS, respectively, continue to compete for prepaid market share gains.
  • Prepaid operators use free and discounted device promotions to attract customers, which also encourages smartphone uptake.
  • Prepaid smartphone penetration, although still lower than postpaid, is growing at a rapid pace, ending 4Q16 at 74%, up from 66% at end-2Q16.

Features and Benefits

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

Key questions answered

  • What is the customer segment mix by US operator in 3Q16 and 4Q16?
  • How did prepaid churn rates in 3Q16 and 4Q16 compare across US operators, and how have they changed over the past five quarters?
  • What is Verizon doing to refocus efforts on the prepaid segment?

Table of contents


  • Introduction
  • Download 1: US Prepaid Update, March 2017

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