T-Mobile expects to pass Sprint in subscriber numbers by the year’s end

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If you can’t join them, beat them. That’s the message from T-Mobile after Sprint this week decided not to pursue a merger with the Bellevue-based wireless carrier. After some initial smack talk, T-Mobile CEO John Legere took things a step further — predicting that T-Mobile will surpass Sprint in total customers by the end of the year. Legere made the prediction as part of T-Mobile’s announcement that it has already overtaken Sprint in prepaid wireless customers.

T-Mobile US will overtake Sprint Corp as the No. 3 wireless U.S. carrier in subscribers by the end of the year, Chief Executive John Legere tweeted on Thursday. The declaration came a day after T-Mobile said it surpassed Sprint as the No. 1 wireless provider for prepaid customers, with 15.64 million users, compared with Sprint’s 15.19 million. The figures put T-Mobile, which calls itself the “uncarrier,” well ahead of rivals AT&T and Verizon in the prepaid market. Verizon and AT&T hold a larger share of the more profitable postpaid U.S. subscriber base. “I predict the #uncarrier will overtake @Sprint in total customers by the end of the year! There, I said it!,” tweeted Legere. A spokeswoman for Sprint declined comment. While T-Mobile has been adding record numbers of subscribers through promotions and campaigns, Sprint customers have been leaving in droves because of service problems arising from carrier’s network overhaul. Earlier this week, Sprint’s parent company, SoftBank Corp, walked away from its offer to buy T-Mobile and replaced Sprint CEO Dan Hesse with Miami businessman Marcelo Claure.

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