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Carrier share of activating customers over the course of Q1. Source: CIRP

It seems like T-Mobile’s “Uncarrier” moves are continuing to work. According to a report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, T-Mobile saw the greatest subscriber growth out of any U.S. carrier during the first quarter of 2014.

The Bellevue-based carrier has been working hard to woo new subscribers with a number of competitive moves, and announced in January that it would pay off the early termination fees for users looking to switch networks, which probably helped drive more customers to its platform.

That growth seemed to come primarily from carriers other than the four major players in the U.S. wireless market. Verizon’s share of customers activating new or used phones remained flat over the quarter, while Sprint saw minor growth. However, T-Mobile CEO John Legere’s crusade against AT&T seems to have some effect: the T-Mobile rival saw a slight loss of wireless subscribers over the quarter.

Carrier customer retention rate for Q1. Source: CIRP
Carrier customer retention rate for Q1. Source: CIRP

It’s not all sunshine and roses for T-Mobile, though: the company had the lowest retention rate of any of the major carriers in the quarter. It held on to about 70 percent of its customers compared to Sprint, AT&T and Verizon, which all kept around 80 percent of their customers. That speaks to the strength of T-Mobile’s growth: the company was able to massively increase its subscribers even though it saw more turnover than its competitors.

T-Mobile’s retention rate probably isn’t helped by the fact that its customers aren’t bound by traditional phone contracts with early termination fees and handset subsidies, which are designed to keep users locked in and less willing to move from carrier to carrier. T-Mobile’s churn rate, which measures how many subscribers are leaving, has been decreasing over the past year, which is a positive sign for the company.

T-Mobile declined to comment on this report. The Bellevue-based company, the fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier, added a net total of 4.4 million customers in 2013 after announcing a series of steps designed to change the way the wireless industry operates. Legere this week hinted at more customer growth and promised an update on May 1.

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