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T-Mo’s Un-Carrier Strategy Pays Off in 2Q

Thu, 08/08/2013 - 12:00pm
Andrew Berg

T-Mobile's move to differentiate itself from the pack appears to be working. The "Un-carrier" today reported 1.1 million net customer additions, as well as a reduction in branded postpaid churn to a record low of 1.58 percent.

Revenue was also up, climbing to $6.3 billion, or 20 percent annually. Profits slid to a loss of $16 million over a gain of $207 million in the same period last year. 

Investors were able to shrug off the loss. Shares of T-Mobile were up nearly 8 percent in early trading Thursday to $25.90, but had settled back down to $25.22 by 11:00 a.m. CST. 

Smartphones reigned supreme at T-Mobile. Fully 86 percent of all phones sold at the carrier were smartphones. The company hit 4.3 million smartphone sales during the quarter, with iPhone sales of just over 900,000 for the quarter. 

T-Mobile said it was ahead in its rollout of 4G LTE. The company now offers the service in 116 metro areas, covering 157 million people. The company had previously said it hoped to cover 100 million people with LTE by mid-year. 

To be sure it's been a busy year for T-Mobile. In an effort to remain relevant in the highly competitive wireless industry, T-Mobile has launched a number of initiatives that have forced even AT&T and Verizon to follow suit. Specifically, T-Mobile unveiled JUMP!, its new device financing and early upgrade program. Both AT&T and Verizon have rolled out similar options to their customers.

During an earnings call Thursday, CEO John Legere emphasized that the T-Mobile isn’t done yet, telling analyst and media on the line to stay tuned for more initiatives when T-Mobile rolls out Un-carrier 3.0, in the near future. 

Legere didn’t give details on 3.0 other than to say that it will address another customer pain point. 

When asked whether T-Mobile would consider making a bid for Leap, Legere said he wasn’t at all interested in the company and would rather acquire Leap customers by expanding MetroPCS’ markets. 

“We have no interest in acquiring Leap,” Legere said, adding that he found it “fascinating” that AT&T outbidding itself because they “thought people were coming.” 

Leger said AT&T’s response to Jump! with its Next initiative was a failed attempt at responding to T-Mobile’s plan. “They’re in full fight-back mode,” Legere said, adding that he expects each successive move that T-Mobile makes to increase the competitive response, which was the primary reason T-Mobile tempered its forecast. 

T-Mobile forecast adjusted EBITDA on a pro forma combined basis, including MetroPCS results for the full year, to be in the range of $5.2 to $5.4 billion. Cash capital expenditures are expected to be in the range of $4.2 to $4.4 billion on a pro forma combined basis. The company expects branded postpaid net additions for 2013 to be between 1 and 1.2 million. 

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