Wireless carrier financial results

Here are US carrier financial reports on wireless revenue, subscribers, churn, and ARPU.  The numbers were collected by GigaOm but I re-sorted to show a side by side comparison.

No big surprises here.  AT&T and Verizon are fairly evenly matched in market share, though AT&T is acquiring new subs faster.  Sprint continues to fail.  T-Mobile growing nicely, but remains the underdog.  Annoyingly each carrier reports prepaid/postpaid differently, so it's a hard to compare churn and ARPU.

Will be very interesting to see how the recession impacts these numbers.  Will prepaid gain rapidly resulting in a lower ARPU?  What impact will flat rate voice/data plans have?

Wireless revenue:
AT&T    $11.5 billion
Verizon    $11.1 billion
Sprint    $6.56 billion
T-Mobile    $4.9 billion

Wireless income:
AT&T    $2.7 billion
Verizon    $3.57 billion
Sprint    (loss of $1.28 billion)
T-Mobile    $.483 billion

Data revenue:
AT&T    $3.1 billion
Verizon    $3.2 billion
Sprint    N/A
T-Mobile    $.9 billion

Total subscribers:
AT&T    77 million
Verizon    72.1 million
Sprint    49.3 million
T-Mobile    32.8 million

Subscriber additions:
AT&T    800k prepaid / 1.3 million postpaid
Verizon    1.2 million prepaid and postpaid
Sprint    (loss of 314k prepaid and 1.1 million postpaid)
T-Mobile    355k prepaid / 266k postpaid

AT&T    postpaid 1.2% / prepaid N/A
Verizon    1.35% blended / postpaid 1.05%
Sprint    postpaid 2.16% / prepaid 8.2%
T-Mobile    3.3% blended

AT&T    postpaid $59.59 / prepaid N/A
Verizon    $51.72 blended
Sprint    postpaid $56  / prepaid $30
T-Mobile    postpaid $54 / prepaid $23

Mobile Market Declines by 12.6% (breaking down the IDC report)

Lots of speculation recently on how the economic troubles are impacting the mobile phone industry.  IDC reports on how handset sales are getting hit with a 12.6% worldwide decline in Q4 of 2008.

What will be the downstream impact on data consumption?  Since consumers with new phones are the most active in using data, there will be some downward pressure there.  On the other hand, smart phones as a percentage of sales are rising (by double digits in Q4), so there should be enough of an increase to counteract falling handset sales.

Here are the numbers on smart phones for the year 2008:

  • North America:  70.1%
  • EMEA (Europe, Middle, East Africa):  25.0%

(wow, NA is blowing away EMEA)

And here are IDC’s numbers for the Big 5 in Q4 2008 (in millions):


Q408 Unit Shipments

Q408 Market Share

Q407 Unit Shipments

Q407 Market Share

4Q08/4Q07 Change

1. Nokia






2. Samsung






3. LG Electronics    






4. Sony Ericsson






5. Motorola


















Sprint Open Location Platform and uLocate

Network-based location is here!

Through the Sprint Open Location Platform, network-based location has been made available through WHERE by uLocate, 1 of 2 initial aggregators.  Here's the Sprint press release and the uLocate post.

This service is related to Sprint's previous Business Mobility Framework (BMF), but includes much broader access for third party developers.

In 2008, we saw location arrive on smart-phones (Apple iPhone, Google Android G1, and Blackberries powered by GPS/CellID/Wifi).  In 2009, it would not be surprising if we see some further announcements from other carriers besides Sprint.   After nearly 10 years of hype in location-based services, the year of LBS can be said to be finally arriving.

WHERE on the iPhone

WHERE is now on the iPhone, it launched on the home page of the Apple App Store on Friday and has gained over 100,000 new users over the weekend.  Amazing numbers.

Apple itself sold 1,000,000 iPhones over the weekend.  Distribution is everything in mobile.

Two iPhone widgets launched from the WHERE Developer Community, HeyWhatsThat and Skymap, using  javascript libraries to access the GPS, Wi-Fi triangulation, and cell tower location from the iPhone.

And just in, Walter Mossberg lists WHERE in his top ten apps.

How many people use mobile data services

Neilson just released some very interesting numbers on mobile data usage with their TotalWeb report.

The most significant stat:

87 million U.S. mobile users subscribe to mobile Internet services, and more than one in ten mobile subscribers (13.7 percent) actively uses mobile Internet each month.

They also have metrics about the lift that websites receive from their mobile offering.  Accuweather represents the extreme example, having received a 43% increase in web users from their mobile offering.  Of course, Accuweather is pretty ubiquitous in its mobile reach, it’s hard to find a US handset that doesn’t have at least one Accuweather offering.

Rosum: location triangulation through television towers

Rosum is back in the news after a long hiatus.  I’ve gotten this question a lot, ‘isn’t there a way to get location from TV signals?’.  But lately I wasn’t sure of the status of the company.

According to their press release (pdf), they’re on sound financial footing now.  Maybe we’ll see consumer handsets with TV tuners in them soon.

From their website, here’s what they do:

For enterprises and government entities that suffer from the limitations of GPS, Rosum provides seamless indoor/outdoor location technology that is rapid, available, and accurate. Rosum TV-GPS integrates signals from existing commercial TV towers with signals from GPS satellites to support positioning in all environments.