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T-Mobile USA CEO Philipp Humm says the loss of customers is due to the lack of an iPhone 4S to sell

T-Mobile was hit pretty hard in fourth quarter 2011 with the loss of over 700,000 customers, which was attributed to the fact that T-Mobile is the only carrier that doesn't offer the iPhone 4S.

T-Mobile is trailing behind the United States' three largest mobile carriers, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. All three of these carriers sell the iPhone 4S, but T-Mobile does not. According to Philipp Humm, T-Mobile USA CEO, this is the reason for many of the contract deactivations in Q4 2011.

By the end of Q4 2011, T-Mobile had 33.2 million customers, which is a decrease from the 33.7 million customers it had at the end of Q3 2011. The carrier lost 706,000 customers total.

T-Mobile has wanted to carry the iPhone 4S in order to stay competitive for some time now, but Apple executives have a problem with the spectrum band which T-Mobile's network operates in.

In addition to iPhone-related woes, T-Mobile USA reported service revenues of $4.57 billion in Q4 2011, which is a decrease from $4.69 billion in Q4 2010. Also, net customer losses were 526,000 in Q4 2011, which is an increase from 23,000 in Q4 2010.

Despite some disappointment, T-Mobile highlighted a few positives from the Q4 2011 results, such as an adjusted OIBDA increase of 4.3 percent year-on-year to $1.4 billion.

“In 2011, T-Mobile USA showed solid financial performance with a remarkable adjusted OIBDA turn-around in the second half of the year, despite nine challenging months during the pending acquisition. We further increased our 4G data speed to 42 Mbps, expanded our sales channels, launched 25 new 4G handsets and significantly improved our operational efficiency. As a result, adjusted OIBDA rose again year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2011 and branded data ARPU grew 20 percent year-on-year as smartphone adoption accelerated,” said Humm. “However, not carrying the iPhone led to a significant increase in contract deactivations in the fourth quarter of 2011.  In 2012 and 2013, T-Mobile USA will invest to get the business back to growth, including an incremental $1.4 billion investment in its network modernization initiative, which will total a $4 billion investment over time.”

T-Mobile also mentioned that it will finally be rolling out a LTE network, which Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have either launched or are preparing to launch. T-Mobile's LTE network will be built using the $1 billion worth of spectrum and $3 billion in cash from the failed AT&T merger agreement, where AT&T wanted to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion last year. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice had an issue with anti-competitive practices.

T-Mobile's LTE network is expected to begin development in 2013.

AT&T and Verizon will be ahead of the curve as far as both LTE and Apple products go, since the iPad 3, which will be revealed at an event next week, will run on both of the carriers' LTE networks.

“Though we are not satisfied with the contract customer losses and the decreased total revenues, the quarterly margin improvement year-on-year was impressive," said René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom. "The spectrum gained through the break-up fee empowers T-Mobile USA to start LTE-based services in key US markets and strengthens its competitiveness."

Source: T-Mobile

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RE: I just switched to Tmobile
By MABManZ on 2/23/2012 8:50:27 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. I'm on the unlimited value deal, only $50 a month but you buy your own phone. Saves so much money in the long run even for high-end devices.

I think these losses have much more to do w/ the failed merger than the lack of iPhones. People jumped ship because they didn't want to be under AT&T or have their carrier in limbo.

Since the iPhone (any model) is not even an LTE device, how can you blame lack of LTE for losses and also point to lack of iPhones? T-Mobile's HSPA+ is pretty darned good even if it's not LTE.

RE: I just switched to Tmobile
By atlmann10 on 2/24/2012 12:05:03 AM , Rating: 2
I have been on T-Mous since last may now. I have no issues VoIP over wireless is included so I get a strong connection at home which I cannot do on ATT, Verizon, or Sprint unless I pay them extra every month and or by a wifi router from them. I pay less for 2 Android smart phones with free texting, unlimited minutes, and data on both than I would for one on ATT or Verizon and while Sprint is pretty even I would have to buy a wifi router from them for $100 and pay them an xtra 10 monthly on each phone to use it, or at least I would have when I had them for 28 days in October of 2010, after which I returned there EPIC and got my money back because I could not connect at all at home and they refused to fix it even though they could have (and they lost 4 active units in the bargain which are all 4 now on T-Mous).

RE: I just switched to Tmobile
By Chaser on 2/24/2012 12:16:45 PM , Rating: 2
On paper it sounds good. But with T-Mobile you get what you pay for.

1) Their coverage is significantly limited compared to other carriers. If you live in a decent sized city and don't leave it then T-Mobile can work for you. Try going to a rural area and drive away from the interstate and see how wonderful T-Mobile is then.

2) 4G? Please. That's the biggest farce T-Mobile tries to pull off with their advertising. It's boosted 3G speed over their comparatively limited coverage network as it is. If you are outside of a city and you don't have T-Mobile 3G data guess what you have now? 2G. Have fun with that.

3) "Unlimited data?" Right. How about telling them what happens after you go over your "limit". Unlimited. Limit. What a Dichotomy. Well I will tell you. T-Mobile throttles their "unlimited" data to something that's a fraction above dial up. yeah it's slow. Very slow and mostly useless. Unless you are waiting for the 3 line email message without attachments in central Nevada and you actually have signal.

So OK. If you live in a decent city. Don't travel and don't go over your "unlimited" limit then T-Mobile can save you $20.00 month.

As a business traveler I gave T-Mobile a try and returned it in the two week trial period thank goodness. Even locally here in a medium sized city my T-Mobile friends regularly have spotty coverage as nearly a way of life.

You get what you pay for. But count me as 699,999th.

RE: I just switched to Tmobile
By MABManZ on 2/24/2012 6:12:09 PM , Rating: 2
Perfectly happy with T-Mobile coverage in the DMV area (DC, Virginia, Maryland)

You must be a Sprint customer touting the "unlimited" data because they're the only ones that don't have a bottleneck or overcharge. And guess what, Sprint does not have LTE deployed yet either!

So what 4G speeds are you talking about?? Benchmarks have shown HSPA+ to be on par with Wimax.

It's obvious you should have a carrier with good coverage in your area. 99% of people are not traveling around the country and downloading multiple GB's of data on the road. If you are in a T-Mobile covered area then there's nothing to complain about.

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