Mobile Providers Grapple for Market Share

On June 15, 24/7 Wall St. published their “24/7 Wall St. Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2011” a report in which they identified some interesting brands that they expect will either be gone by the end of 2011, or whose parent company will be sold or go into Chapter 11. One of the brands singled out for doom is T-Mobile, the wireless company owned by the German telecom company Deutsche Telekom AG.

Using Experian Simmons DataStream, we were able to track the market share of T-Mobile versus AT&T and Verizon, which 24/7 Wall St. identifies as the only “two really successful firms.” Simmons DataStream confirms that for the past two years, T-Mobile’s market share has remained stagnant at less than half of AT&T’s or Verizon’s market share. As of May 17, 2010, 9.6% of the adult population were T-Mobile wireless subscribers, up slightly from 2008, but virtually unchanged in the last year. By comparison AT&T claims 22.4% of U.S. adults as their customers and Verizon collects subscriber fees from 25.7% of the nation’s adult population. Sprint-Nextel, a company that presents T-Mobile with more even competition, has the advantage of being ahead of T-Mobile in offering its customers speedier service.

24/7 Wall St. mentions talks of a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint-Nextel, which combined would have a customer base on par with AT&T and Verizon. Even if the merger takes place and Deutsche Telekom becomse the owner of the combined operation, T-Mobile, 24/7 Wall St. reports, “has little brand equity in the U.S.,” suggesting the parent company may not object to disconnecting from the T-Mobile brand.