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T-Mobile draws back customers, adds half a million subscribers in Q1

Ahead of its first quarter customer results, T-Mobile says it's finally turned itself around and is adding customers again, compared to previous quarterly subscriber losses.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

T-Mobile USA efforts to get back in the cellular game are paying off, according to early first quarter results released overnight.

The fourth largest U.S. cellular network said its net customer base grew by 579,000 unbranded subscribers during the first quarter, compared to a loss of 349,000 during the fourth quarter of 2012, resulting in a total of 34 million customers. 

But here's the kicker: T-Mobile's branded customer base grew by only 3,000 customers.

By comparison, Verizon and AT&T have 115 million and 107 million respectively, while third place holder Sprint has 55 million. MetroPCS, which T-Mobile is gunning for, has just 8.9 million customers.

The carrier said branded postpaid churn declined to 1.9 percent, highlighted as the best branded postpaid churn results since 2008.

The firm reported "meaningful improvement" in its branded postpaid segment — a unit the company has focused on growing over postpaid contract subscribers in recent months — but still hit an overall loss of 199,000 during the first quarter. This is compared to net losses of more than half a million during the fourth quarter, and the same quarter a year ago respectively.

"We have made material progress in stabilizing our branded business in Q1, which provides a solid foundation to build on with the new Un-carrier customer offers we launched last week across America," said T-Mobile chief executive John Legere, who kept his swearing on the down-low following his tirade at a media event last month that irritated prospective MetroPCS shareholders.

Last month, T-Mobile and Legere announced that it would effectively "kill" the traditional cell contract in a bid to boost subscribers overall. Claiming that the "industry is broken," the company also finally brought the iPhone to its service.

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