Competition between the top four USA mobile phone companies ramped up a level as Sprint agrees to purchase T-Mobile USA. If the merger is finalized and passes regulatory barriers it creates a three way battle with AT&T and Verizon for largest mobile carrier in the USA. The current subscriber numbers according to industry sources are AT&T with 102 million subscribers, narrowly behind Verizon Wireless with 103 million subscribers. The combined T-Mobile and Sprint subscriber base will be over 85 million – not quite in the same league as the other two players but certainly a new market force. The rest of the USA market is held by a number of smaller players such at US Cellular with less than 5 million subscribers.
In comparison the UK market has a spread of four main carriers with 80 million customers, Australia has three main carriers with 30 million customers. This number of three to four primary carriers is evident in many markets, including very small markets like New Zealand with three main carriers for approximately 5 million subscribers.