Telecoms companies have been lining up to kiss the ring ever since Donald Trump was elected. Between massive tax cuts and net neutrality repeal — both of which are on the cusp of becoming reality — it’s a great time to be a multi-billion-dollar telecoms company.
But just how happy are companies about the coming tax cut? Let’s ask T-Mobile’s CFO Braxton Carter, who appears to be visibly salivating at the prospect.
“With the tax reform—and it is looking like it’s going to be a reality and we’re really excited about it—we’ve modeled the various versions of the House and Senate bill,” Carter said last week during an investor conference. “And the bottom line is we think that we won’t be in a cash tax-paying situation given the immediate expense of capex, given the reduction of the rates—I mean even considering what could be adverse, for a short period of time, limitations on the deductibility of interest—we are not going to be in a cash tax-paying position based upon the current modeling until 2024, very end of 2023.
Carter’s saying that thanks to the tax cut (and T-Mobile’s ongoing investment in its network, which is tax-deductible), T-Mobile won’t actually be cutting the government a check for the next five or six years. So of course, your next question is how many jobs T-Mobile is creating with this additional money?
Well actually, on the same morning that Carter was explaining how much money T-Mobile’s about to save on its tax, the company announced a $1.5 billion stock buy-back program. Stock repurchases return money to investors, as well as boosting a company’s earnings-per-share — often a metric by which executive pay is calculated. Cash used for stock buy-backs is also money that cannot be re-invested in infrastructure, R&D, or any other measures that would demonstrably benefit customers or employees.