T-Mobile Claims It’s Bigger Than Sprint, Open To Working With Dish On Wireless Services

With AT&T and Verizon comfortably controlling the two lead spots in the U.S. wireless market, it’s left to Sprint and T-Mobile to duke it out over the third-place position. And if you believe the latest chest-thumping from T-Mo CEO John Legere, his company is now at least tied with Sprint if not ahead.

In its latest earnings report, T-Mobile says it added a net 2.1 million customers last quarter, pushing it over the 8 million mark for the year.

And during a call to discuss the report, a T-shirt-sporting Legere says his company has surpassed Sprint’s total number of subscribers.

“Going into 2013, Sprint had 55 million customers. Going into ’14, they had 55 million customers. Going into this year, they have 55 million customers,” he says, pointing to Sprint’s lack of growth. Meanwhile, during that same period, T-Mobile jumped from 33 million to 42 million based solely on the acquisition of MetroPCS, “and we’ve since added 13 million customers to get up to, guess what, 55 million customers,” concluded Legere.

He then questions Sprint’s data, claiming that Sprint changed a policy and is now counting dead and non-revenue-generating accounts for twice as long as the other wireless providers. “If you go to their filings right now, there are 1.7 million customers with no usage or revenue” who Legere believes wouldn’t be counted by the other providers.

UPDATE: A rep for Sprint tells Consumerist that Sprint’s “methodology for determining the number of MVNO connections has not changed and has been discussed for several years in our quarterly filings. Sprint is focused on offering customers a great network and compelling value not which carrier is the largest.”

“By the next quarter or two, the math will be easy enough” to show that T-Mo has moved into third place, he claims.

One area of growth — as shown by AT&T’s pending acquisition of DirecTV — for a wireless provider is to find a partner in the pay-TV business. Satellite TV service Dish recently scooped up billions of dollars in wireless spectrum during a federal auction, adding to some that it already owned, but the company doesn’t currently offer any service that would use the spectrum.

That’s where a partner like T-Mobile could come into play.

“I look at the spectrum portfolio and the video content, etc. that Dish [has] as a fascinating idea to consider,” Legere acknowledge, saying that “Dish is a great opportunity for both the country and perhaps T-Mobile,” according to Fierce Wireless.

Legere said that Dish could be a disruptive force for good in the pay-TV industry, and could use its newly acquired spectrum to impact the wireless market.

“Frankly, we’re open to all versions of it,” said Legere with regard to what Dish could do with the spectrum. “I see no version of what Dish is doing… not being a positive for us.”

[via The Verge]

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