According to Q4 earnings reports, T-Mobile has reported just 621,000 new customers for the final 3 months of 2008, a 35 percent drop in new subscribers from the same period in 2007. That brings T-Mobile’s total subscriber base to an estimated 32.8 million users.
Launching the T-Mobile G1 with Google’s Android platform during this quarter, T-Mobile may be slightly disappointed that more customers didn’t switch carriers to get their hands on the first commercially available Android handset. One huge factor at play here vs. AT&T and the iPhone’s pull is that Android is not tied to T-Mobile for any length of exclusivity, and may be seen on other carriers before the first half of 2009 is over. Android-loaded devices have been all but confirmed for Sprint in 2009, no definitive word on whether the OS will appear on AT&T.
Also to consider is the nation’s (world’s) current economic status and the impact it may be having toward customers’ willingness to purchase higher-end handsets and sign lengthy contracts. T-Mobile USA is reporting 57% of new customers are using pre-paid or contract-free plans, both typically using lower-end and subsidy-free handsets without the advanced features (and plan prices) of the G1.