T-Mobile saw net customer additions in the region of 1.6 million during the third quarter of 2018. The self-appointed Un-carrier confirmed the figure during the release of its latest earnings report along with citing how this continues the company’s trend of adding more than one million net customer additions each quarter. According to T-Mobile, this 1.6 million makes Q3, 2018, the 22nd consecutive quarter it has achieved this one million goal. Specific to the third quarter, T-Mobile saw 1.1 million total branded postpaid net additions, of which 774,000 could be attributed to branded postpaid phone adds - beating market expectations and substantially up from the 595,000 recorded in Q3, 2017 and the 686,000 in Q2, 2018. The company also saw 35,000 branded prepaid net additions by virtue of its Metro by T-Mobile brand, following the prepaid brand’s name change from MetroPCS which took place last month. Churn was also low once again with T-Mobile confirming a “record low” level of 1.02-percent. To sum up, T-Mobile states its total customer count at the close of the third quarter stood at 77.2 million.
In terms of revenue, T-Mobile has now confirmed that it managed to rack up $10.8 billion in the third quarter, $8.1 billion of which can be allocated specifically to service revenue. Both of which, total and service, T-Mobile states further highlights the company’s market-leading position based on continuous year-over-year changes. For example, T-Mobile accounted for $7.6 billion in service revenue (and $10 billion total) when year-over-year comparisons are made with Q3, 2017. While at the quarter-over-quarter level, T-Mobile announced $7.9 billion in service (and $10.6 billion in total) revenue during Q2, 2018. Figures that do highlight healthy service and total revenue growth at both the quarterly and yearly change levels.
Background: While for some companies and brands disclosing earnings can be a tricky situation due to the heightened level of scrutiny by the industry and the possible ramifications those results might have on the market, that’s not quite the case with T-Mobile. As in recent years T-Mobile has typically looked at these occasions as a means to boast about how it’s growing at a rate that’s in direct contrast to the rest of the market. The third-quarter of 2018 for T-Mobile has proven to be no different with the company once again making many of the same overriding ‘we led the industry’ sentiments. Making Q3, 2018, not that much different to the last quarter, or the various quarters before, for that matter.
Beyond the usual net addition and revenue factors, T-Mobile did provide some greater insight into its actual network by stating that it now caters with 4G LTE to 324 million people. Along with confirming that it plans to see that figure hit the 325 million marker before the end of this year. On the topic of 4G, T-Mobile also took the opportunity to draw on Ookla data as a source that highlights how T-Mobile once again offers the “fastest 4G LTE” in the US. In addition, T-Mobile explained that it's 600 MHz coverage now reaches 37 states and more than 1,500 cities in total. An aspect, T-Mobile credits to the company’s “aggressive deployment” during the last quarter. The company did also confirm there are now twenty-one devices compatible with its 600 MHz spectrum.
Impact: Under normal circumstances, such good results and what are clear upward trends would be great for a company and while they are for T-Mobile, the impact these latest figures are likely to have on the market is minimal in comparison to other brands due to the fact that these results have become almost commonplace now for the company. As it seems with each quarter T-Mobile announces its “best financials ever” and this has led to the point where the ‘best financials ever’ have now become the actual expectation - where if they were not 'record breaking' figures for the business that would actually be more noteworthy. This in turn does mean T-Mobile now finds itself in the precarious situation where the expectations on the carrier to maintain this atypical growth are becoming more pressured with each quarter. Especially considering T-Mobile is the one who vocally and heavily relies on using these growth numbers to really drive home what sets it apart from the competition. Therefore, it's almost integral now for T-Mobile to continue to be able to announce grand quarterly results.
This is in part why the so-called un-carrier is continually now looking at new ways in which it can add value and garner more media attention through the launching of new features, services, and discounts. While these are most often typified in the various “Un-Carrier moves” the company makes every so often and loudly, it’s also seen in smaller partnerships the company announces throughout each year. The most recent of which occurred just this week when OnePlus confirmed T-Mobile will carry its latest flagship smartphone - the OnePlus 6T. In fact, T-Mobile is effectively acting as the exclusive carrier for the OnePlus 6T as although it is compatible with other carriers, T-Mobile is the only one that will be offering the new handset at a store level to consumers in the US. This in itself gained a fair of amount of attention as it also marks the first time that the smartphone-maker has partnered with a carrier. Representing another 'first' for both companies involved.
Of course, there remains the issue of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger and this is likely to be one of the main crossroads T-Mobile faces in the near future as the merger is still waiting on regulatory approval. Providing it’s approved than T-Mobile will find itself in a much better position to continue to take on ‘the big two’ going forward and especially as the market enters its 5G era. If for whatever reason it’s not approved, then the T-Mobile quarterly reports may start to paint a difference picture to what has been seen over the last couple of years. The Sprint situation was not something that was mentioned in any meaningful capacity during the main earnings release, other than the usual admissions that the current forward-looking statements made in the release are based on a number of factors - including approval of the Sprint deal.