T-Mobile grows branded subscriber base for first time in four years in Q1

T-Mobile Earnings Q1 2013

T-Mobile on Thursday reported its subscriber figures for the first quarter of 2013, when it managed to grow its branded subscriber base for the first time in four years. The nation’s No.4 carrier added 579,000 net new customers in Q1, 3,000 of which were branded customers. In the same quarter last year, T-Mobile lost 349,000 net subscribers. The carrier’s postpaid subscriber count still dropped by 199,000 last quarter, though that figure represents a significant improvement compared to the 510,000 net postpaid customers T-Mobile shed in the first quarter last year. The carrier’s full press release follows below.

T-Mobile USA – Significant Progress in Q1 on the Branded Customer Business

Summary of First Quarter 2013 Preliminary Key Customer Results:

  • Total customer base increased 579,000 in the quarter to 34 million
  • Branded net customer additions were positive in the quarter, a significant improvement of 352,000 sequentially
  • Branded postpaid net customer losses improved to a loss of 199,000, a 61% improvement from a fourth quarter 2012 loss of 515,000
  • Branded prepaid additions of 202,000, increased sequentially from 166,000, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of branded prepaid customer additions; T-Mobile has added approximately 1.7 million branded prepaid customers over the past seven quarters
  • Branded postpaid churn declined to 1.9%, an improvement of 60 basis points sequentially and the best branded postpaid churn results in four years

BELLEVUE, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–T-Mobile USA, Inc. (“T-Mobile”) today provided a preliminary view of key customer results for the first quarter of 2013, demonstrating continued positive momentum and the building of a solid foundation for growth. The Company generated positive branded net customer additions, a significant improvement in branded postpaid net customer losses and continued improvement in churn performance in the quarter. The business returned to branded customer growth in the first quarter, ahead of the March 26 Un-carrier launch which includes a radically simple unlimited plan; no annual service contracts; unbundling the cost of the plan and device with lowest up-front costs; introduction of iPhone 5; and launch of LTE in seven metropolitan areas. T-Mobile will release full first quarter 2013 results on May 8, 2013.

Preliminary Key Customer and Churn Performance Results

Total net customer additions for the first quarter of 2013 were 579,000, with total branded customer growth of 3,000 customers. This is a significant improvement from a net loss of 349,000 branded customers in the fourth quarter of 2012.

“These results display positive momentum and the first positive branded growth in four years,” said John Legere, President & CEO of T-Mobile USA. “We have made material progress in stabilizing our branded business in Q1, which provides a solid foundation to build on with the new Un-carrier customer offers we launched last week across America. I believe the best is yet to come!”

In the first quarter, T-Mobile reported meaningful improvement in its branded postpaid segment. Branded postpaid net losses were 199,000 for the first quarter of 2013, compared to net losses of 515,000 for the fourth quarter of 2012 and 510,000 for the first quarter of 2012. Sequentially, customer deactivations were significantly lower with branded postpaid churn at 1.90%, a 60 basis point improvement from the fourth quarter of 2012 and the best branded postpaid churn results since the second quarter of 2008.

“Our customer experience improvement initiatives and the increase of higher credit quality customers coming over to T-Mobile are resulting in more people choosing to stay with T-Mobile, leading to a substantial increase in the retention of our most valuable postpaid customers,” continued Legere.

Branded prepaid net customer gains were 202,000 for the first quarter of 2013, an improvement from 166,000 in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Wholesale net customer additions increased to 576,000 in the first quarter of 2013 compared to 410,000 in the fourth quarter of 2012. This improvement was primarily attributable to the continued focus on growing the MVNO customer base.

Bold “Un-carrier” Moves

On March 26, 2013, T-Mobile announced a series of moves to address consumer frustration with the unnecessary cost and complexity of wireless – another important development in its growth strategy. The moves include radically simplifying its lineup of consumer rate plans to one incredibly affordable plan for unlimited talk, text and Web; ensuring that customers never have to sign an annual service contract with T-Mobile; and enabling customers to get the most popular smartphones whenever they want for the lowest upfront cost. T-Mobile also debuted its blazing fast 4G LTE network service in seven major metropolitan areas, including Baltimore; Houston; Kansas City; Las Vegas; Phoenix; San Jose, CA; and Washington, D.C.

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