T-Mobile US Inc. added nearly 2.1 million new subscribers in the second quarter, putting pressure on Overland Park-based Sprint Corp. to keep pace.
The wireless carriers are in a fight over which will be the nation’s third largest based on customer counts. Sprint has long been No. 3, but fast-growing T-Mobile threatens.
T-Mobile said Thursday its growth in April, May and June gave it 58.9 million subscribers. Sprint finished March with 57.1 million subscribers. It is expected to update that total through June 30 in a few weeks.
Sprint, which needs to grow by about 1.77 million subscribers to keep ahead of T-Mobile, had added 1.2 million subscribers in the first quarter of this year.
A Sprint spokeswoman repeated the company’s previous stance that staying No. 3 isn’t an objective.
“While the media is going to focus on who is three or four, customers don’t care,” an email from Melinda Tiemeyer said. “Sprint is focused on long-term growth by offering customers value, providing a great experience and having a reliable and consistent network.”
Sprint has been working hard to attract new customers and keep current customers through a series of promotions and improvements to its network, which have fueled recent customer additions.
A recent industry forecast from Strategy Analytics Inc., however, showed T-Mobile moving into the No. 3 spot and staying ahead of Sprint through 2020.
Investment analysts at Jefferies and Wells Fargo agreed that T-Mobile’s growth in the second quarter topped expectations on several fronts, including total subscribers and handset customers.
“These numbers beat our expectations and consensus across the board,” Jennifer Fritzsche of Wells Fargo wrote to clients.
T-Mobile also said that it gained customers from its national rivals Verizon, AT&T and especially Sprint.