It’s been hard to get excited about much at Sprint Nextel over the last several years, as the carrier has lost buckets of money and subscribers. (Though there are a few recent, modest signs of improvement.)
But Sprint is still leading its rivals in one important metric: Getting its subscribers to pay up for mobile data services, such as text messaging and mobile Web subscriptions.
- In Q3, Sprint’s CDMA customers — not including its Nextel walkie-talkie network — spent an average $19 per month on data service, more than one-third of those subscribers’ total monthly bills. This is likely aided by a high number of corporate subscribers — BlackBerry, etc. — and devices like laptop cards.
- Verizon and AT&T, the two largest U.S. carriers, are about $3-$4 lower per month, per subscriber. (AT&T looks better — almost as good as Sprint — when you only look at its smartphone-heavy “postpaid” subscriber base, and ignore prepaid. Verizon doesn’t disclose postpaid-only revenue.)
- And T-Mobile is still in last place, thanks in large part to its slow start rolling out 3G access across the country, which is a key to getting people to buy smartphones and subscribe to $30/month mobile Web services.
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