Feature Article

November 05, 2013

T-Mobile Leads US Mobile Service Providers in 3Q 2013 Net Adds

T-Mobile US added more than one million net customers in the third quarter of 2013, including 648,000 branded postpaid net customer additions and branded prepaid net additions of 24,000, proving its turnaround is for real.

T-Mobile US also grew revenue, with service revenues for the third quarter up by 8 percent quarter-over-quarter, partly accounted for by the MetroPCS results for a full quarter.

Adjusted earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved by 6.2 percent over the second quarter of 2013.

But branded postpaid average revenue per user decreased quarter-over-quarter by $1.40 to $52.20, primarily as a result of the continued rapid adoption of Value and Simple Choice plans. That trend was offset to some extent by increased data revenues.

Branded prepaid ARPU for the third quarter of 2013 decreased quarter-over-quarter by $0.26 to $35.71. Branded postpaid churn was 1.7 percent.

T-Mobile US net additions were said to lead the industry for the second straight quarter.

Image via Shutterstock

T-Mobile ended the third quarter of 2013 with more than 45 million customers, an increase of 1.023 million customers from the end of the second quarter of 2013.

For the full year of 2013, T-Mobile reaffirmed its previous guidance of adjusted EBITDA on a pro forma combined basis, including MetroPCS results for the full year, to be in the range of $5.2 to $5.4 billion.

Branded postpaid net additions for 2013 are expected to be between 1.6 to 1.8 million, up from the prior guidance of 1 to 1.2 million.

Adoption of “Value” or “Simple Choice” plans in the branded postpaid base is projected to be between 65 percent and 75 percent by the end of 2013, up from the prior guidance of 60 percent to 70 percent.

Since the U.S. mobile market essentially is a zero-sum game, where gains by one provider come mostly from the ranks of other competitors, the issue is from which competing firms T-Mobile US is taking customers.

Sprint branded postpaid net losses were 360,000 in the third quarter. AT&T in its third quarter added close to one million total subs, with postpaid net adds more than doubling, allowing AT&T to add 363,000 net postpaid customers in the quarter.

But there’s an important qualification. “Connected devices” (tablets, principally) drove net mobile additions at AT&T during the third quarter of 2013. And, in fact, connected device net adds were 719,000, or 73 percent of net additions.

So AT&T added 63,000 mobile postpaid phone accounts and 192,000 prepaid phone accounts.

It might be reasonable to conclude that T-Mobile US took most of its customers from Sprint and AT&T.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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