Last week, after years of talks, T-Mobile agreed to acquire Sprint for $26.5 billion. The merger will create the second-largest mobile carrier in the U.S. and one that is poised as a viable rival to Verizon and AT&T, who currently occupy the top positions. The combined companies will also create a more tenable opportunity for a full-scale 5G rollout, and a more competitive product for new and existing consumers. While industry regulators still need to approve the proposed deal, how will this merger shake up the American wireless landscape?
What’s the current state of wireless carriers in the U.S.?
Verto Analytics looked at the biggest wireless carriers in the U.S., based solely on the number of adult smartphone customers, ages 18 and above. According to Verto Watch, Verizon is well in the lead, with 61.4 million smartphone customers (a 28.5% reach among American adult smartphone users) in March 2018. AT&T claimed 51.9 smartphone customers (just over 24% reach) during the same period. T-Mobile and Sprint trail the two leaders significantly, with 30.6 million and 25.8 million wireless customers, respectively. If the merger happened today, however, the combined T-Mobile/Sprint customer base would jump to 56.4 million customers, placing it just behind Verizon and with a comfortable lead ahead of AT&T.