Carrier news roundup: How today’s carriers came to be, and the current state of carrier competition

Infographic: How today’s carriers came to be (and how one didn’t)

This recent infographic created by the folks at GigaOm shows the origins of the “Big Four” carriers, the sizes of their subscriber bases, and what might have been if Sprint and T-Mobile had merged (they would’ve been second-largest in subscribers, behind AT&T, but ahead of Verizon).

twisted tangled web of wireless

Click the infographic to see it at full size.

And the competing continues…

big 4 carriers

After months of pursuing a merger with T-Mobile, saying that they needed to team up in order to compete effectively against the giants AT&T and Verizon, they merger called off, Sprint and its parent company SoftBank called it off and are going it alone. Now that the marriage is off, the smaller half of the “Big Four” carriers are back to poaching each other’s customers.

Not only did Sprint get a new CEO, they got a new, more aggressive approach to pricing. They’ve recently introduced plans that give customers more data for the same price as similarly-priced plans offered by the competition and have even borrowed a page from T-Mobile’s book of tricks: reimbursing customers who switch for their early termination fees. Sprint have also announced a new plan featuring unlimited talk, text, and data that “$20 cheaper than T-Mobile”.

In response, T-Mobile have promised more “offers and Uncarrier moves” this week, and CEO John Legere retorted with this spicy tweet:

Here’s Bloomberg Newsweek’s take on the Sprint/T-Mobile fight:

While AT&T and Verizon may be in the more comfortable position of being content to let Sprint and T-Mobile battle it out with price cutting, they’re not completely insulated from the battle. AT&T, through their subsidiary Cricket Wireless, are taking the fight to the pre-paid market by offering a $100 credit to users who switch from T-Mobile and its pre-paid subsidiary MetroPCS to Cricket.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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