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T-Mobile's Uncarrier mojo pays off, posts strong Q1 net subscriber gains

T-Mobile added subscribers on all fronts in the first quarter, as it continues to be a headache for incumbents.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

T-Mobile's Uncarrier theme continues to pay dividends, as the company said it added 1.1 million net additions with strong postpaid subscriber gains.

The carrier reported first quarter earnings of $698 million, or 80 cents a share, on revenue of $9.6 billion, up 11 percent from a year ago. T-Mobile said that without the adjustments, first quarter earnings per share would have increased by 38 cents a share. Excluding, the spectrum gains and the income tax benefit earnings per share checked in at 48 cents a share.

Wall Street was looking for first quarter earnings of 34 cents a share on revenue of $9.6 billion with 1.2 million net additions. Backing out the wireless spectrum gains T-Mobile still handily beat estimates.

As for the outlook, T-Mobile projected 2017 branded post paid net additions to 2.8 million to 3.5 million, up from 2.4 million to 3.4 million. T-Mobile continues to see capital spending of $3.8 billion to $5.1 billion.

T-Mobile noted that its MetroPCS prepaid brand continued to fare well and added 386,000 net additions.


The carrier's quarter comes as Verizon posted net addition declines for the first three months of 2017.

CEO John Legere did a little chest thumping on the company's earnings conference call. He said:

We estimate that we captured over 250 percent of the industry's postpaid phone growth this quarter. And as you've seen, Verizon reported a disaster of a quarter, with nearly 300,000 postpaid phone losses despite all the hype around the launch of their unlimited plan. Ouch. That's really got to be embarrassing after all that mic dropping. Well, we'll get to their network in a minute. But back on competitive share. T-Mobile took home an estimated 29% of the industry's share of postpaid gross adds in Q1, our best result in 3 years.

However, T-Mobile's net additions were down from the growth posted a year ago. Nevertheless, first quarter postpaid churn of 1.18 percent was an improvement on a year ago. Average revenue per user was $47.53 in the first quarter, said T-Mobile.

The big question for T-Mobile is what's next. T-Mobile has been rumored to be an acquisition partner for Sprint -- again. T-Mobile would also be an interesting combination with Dish, according to Macquarie Capital. These combinations would provide the merged company a lot of network opportunities.

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