Print 17 comment(s) - last by Tal Greywolf.. on Mar 3 at 2:44 PM

Company brags about its "momentum", but financials suggest otherwise

In its Q4 2012 earnings report Deutsche Telekom AG's (ETR:DTE) T-Mobile USA brags, "As T-Mobile USA, Inc. (“T-Mobile”) closed out its fourth quarter, the Company continued to generate business momentum by executing its Challenger strategy, while laying the groundwork for its unique ‘Un-carrier’ initiatives aimed at changing the rules of wireless."

But for all the talk of "changing the rules" and gaining "momentum", the actual numbers continue to look pretty grim.  For the quarter T-Mobile USA lost 515,000 contract customers.  Operating income (OBIDA) fell to $1B USD, down 25 percent from a year ago.  Total revenue fell from $5.2B USD in Q4 2011 to $4.9B USD.

Prepaid continues to be a strong point for T-Mobile, much like Sprint Nextel Corp. (S), but the addition of 166,000 prepaid customers in Q4 was not enough to stop the revenue bleed from defecting contract customers.

T-Mobile plane
[Image Source: Juergen Lehle]

One factor that may help T-Mobile is its pickup of the Apple, Inc. (AAPL) iPhone.  Some customers may be attracted to the prospect of the Apple device on T-Mobile's lower priced plans.

T-Mobile says that its merger with MetroPCS should be wrapped up in April.  The company can only hope that the merger with the more-successful budget carrier will provide it the spark it so desperately needs.

One big issue for T-Mobile is its lack of LTE.  Like Sprint, T-Mobile is stuck playing catch-up with respect to true 4G.  The company says it is "accelerating" its deployment and will cover 100 million Americans with LTE by "mid-2013".  It plans to cover 200 million Americans with LTE by the end of the year.

Source: T-Mobile

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Not the best...But
By Raiders12 on 2/28/2013 1:13:05 PM , Rating: 5
T-Mobile's prepaid is excellent. Purchased a brand new LG Nexus 4 from Google Play ($350), slid my sim card in, selected $30/mo unlimited messages/data and 100 mins, and I've been saving $65/mo ever since (compared to VZ). Yes, my signal is weak(er) and sometimes in remote areas I miss VZ's expansive network coverage. I do not miss my $95/mo bill AFTER 20% work discount, and I had bare minimum minutes and 2GB data. Out here in Portland, I'm seeing anywhere from 15-20 Mbps on Tmobile's HSDPA network, not too shabby.

RE: Not the best...But
By cornmuffin on 2/28/2013 1:26:55 PM , Rating: 2
I did the exact same thing and feel the same way (even came from a similarly ludicrous VZ plan, though mine was a grandfathered unlimited which made it a bit harder to leave behind.) I've read many similar accounts and think that T-mobile really needs to keep pushing this to succeed. LTE will be nice, but like you I get ~15Mbps down and am fine without it. What they really need is to expand their coverage as they roll out their LTE. At that point, they will look great next to the other carriers.

RE: Not the best...But
By AEvangel on 2/28/2013 4:31:35 PM , Rating: 2
You want an even better deal, bought the same phone last week during their $50 Nexus 4 sale, they waived the $35 activation fee and the contract cancellation fee was only $200.

So I get the same Nexus 4 unlocked for only $250, no tax or shipping costs. The only additional I had to pay was one month of service at $60 versus $30.

RE: Not the best...But
By AEvangel on 2/28/2013 4:34:33 PM , Rating: 2
Also check out Solavei $49 unlimited on T-Mobiles network.

RE: Not the best...But
By sigmatau on 2/28/2013 8:03:05 PM , Rating: 2
I wish Tmobile was as good as AT&T. I have both. Work phone is Tmobile and personal phone is AT&T. Both smartphones.

Tmobile's service has been pretty crappy compared to AT&T. I will say that Tmobile has been increasing the speed of their network considerably to get close to AT&T, but it doesn't matter if half the time it is not in range of a tower.

My phone also drops off Tmobile's network and never recovers until a reboot. I never know until I try to place a call. Probably a bad phone, but who knows since Tmobile wants me to pay $25 for them to provide warranty service.

My AT&T bill is $65 after discount. It could be better.

RE: Not the best...But
By Tal Greywolf on 3/3/2013 2:44:09 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, I have the reverse. I have AT&T for a workphone (company contract), while my personal phone is T-Mobile. Of the two, T-Mobile is the far more stable one, I get drops in the middle of conversations on the AT&T system almost daily, while T-Mobile remains rock solid no matter where I am.

As for my bill, well, I pay $40 a month for my T-Mobile, no data plan, it's just a straight cellphone that's pretty close to unlimited calling. AT&T can't even come close to that, they want to sell me something that's $60... then tack on a data plan whether I want it or not.

By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 3/2/2013 8:39:44 PM , Rating: 2
I had that for awhile with a Galaxy Nexus, but found that the reception in the area I moved to later on was quite poor. In my old house I would get a bar of 3G, but once I moved further away I could only get GPRS (not even EDGE!).

I switched to Ting and got a Galaxy Note 2, and am now seeing 3 bars of 3G at my new semi-rural house, and 4G LTE in nearby cities and towns. Oh, and paying even less per month than the TMobile "unlimited" plan, since I only use about 450-499MB/mo of mobile data (I glom onto wifi a LOT).

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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