AT&T’s prepaid customer growth
Earlier, we discussed AT&T’s (T) postpaid phone customer net additions over the last few quarters. In this part, we’ll look at AT&T’s prepaid customer net additions. AT&T’s prepaid subscriber growth continued to be strong in 4Q17. It added 140,000 net prepaid customers in 4Q17, with strength coming from the Cricket and AT&T Prepaid brands. That figure, however, was significantly lower than analysts’ estimate. AT&T’s prepaid customer base grew ~13.3% year-over-year.
Costs associated with prepaid subscribers are much lower than those associated with postpaid subscribers, making prepaid subscribers more profitable. Acquisition, maintenance, and upfront expenses are all lower for prepaid customers.
Peer comparison: Prepaid net additions
At the end of 4Q17, T-Mobile’s prepaid customer base was the largest, at 20.7 million customers. AT&T and Sprint followed, with 15.3 million and 9.0 million prepaid subscribers, respectively. Verizon had 5.4 million prepaid customers.