Just over a year ago, T-Mobile looked like a dead carrier walking — after its plan to merge with AT&T fell through, it kept shedding subscribers and looked doomed to wither and die. What a difference a year of “Uncarrier” initiatives makes: Business Insider flags a new report from UBS that charts T-Mobile’s extraordinary comeback over the last year that has seen its service revenue growth go from -9.6% in Q4 2012 to -1.1% in Q4 2013. While T-Mobile would probably prefer to post positive and not negative quarterly service revenue growth, that’s still an impressive turnaround for a carrier that looked like it was on death’s door at the end of 2012.
The reasons for T-Mobile’s comeback aren’t hard to figure out: It’s become very aggressive at coming up with fresh ideas for wireless plans, including giving customers the option of upgrading their smartphones earlier, offering free international data roaming and even paying off new customers’ early termination fees if they switch over from a rival carrier. The big question right now, though, is whether this “Uncarrier revolution” is sustainable — T-Mobile has been making very impressive subscriber gains but they’ve come at an enormous cost and the company posted a massive $20 million loss last quarter.
UBS’s chart showing T-Mobile’s big upswing follows below.