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T-Mobile CEO John Legere
T-Mobile CEO John Legere

T-Mobile announced preliminary results for the fourth quarter this morning, disclosing that it added 2.1 million customers during the period, bringing its total customer count to just over 55 million — 55.018 million, to be precise.

That is slightly less than the 55.037 million customers that the company’s rival, Sprint, reported at the end of the third quarter, meaning that T-Mobile won’t surpass Sprint in total customer count for the year unless Sprint reports a decline in customers for the period.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere had said earlier in the year that he expected T-Mobile to surpass Sprint in total customers in 2014, becoming the third-largest carrier behind AT&T and Verizon, but more recently he hedged on that statement.

But given T-Mobile’s continued growth, the milestone appears likely to happen at some point in 2015. The company, based in Bellevue, Wash., says 2014 was the largest in its history, with 8.3 million net customer additions. T-Mobile has been rebounding thanks to a series of “Un-carrier” initiatives designed to shake up the wireless industry.

T-Mobile shares are rising in early trading on the news. The company says it will report detailed financial results in February. Here’s the text of the news release issued this morning.

Un-Carrier Momentum Continues as Customers Continue to Choose T-Mobile Over the Competition
2014 Delivers the Biggest Year of Net Customer Additions in Company History

Preliminary Full Year 2014 Customer Highlights:
● 8.3 million total net customer additions
● 4.9 million branded postpaid net customer additions
● 4.0 million branded postpaid phone net customer additions
● 265 million people now covered by the nation’s fastest 4G LTE network

Preliminary Fourth Quarter 2014 Customer Highlights:
● 2.1 million total net customer additions
● 1.3 million branded postpaid net customer additions
● 1.0 million branded postpaid phone net customer additions
● 266,000 branded prepaid net customer additions

BELLEVUE, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) today provided a preliminary view of key customer results for the fourth quarter of 2014, once again demonstrating the strength of the momentum and positive customer response to its Un-carrier initiatives.

“We continued to take share from our competitors and attracted 8.3 million net customers in 2014 who were looking for value, simplicity and transparency,” said John Legere, President and CEO of T-Mobile. “While my competitors are hiding behind less valuable connected device subscriber additions and managing profit expectations to the downside, T-Mobile delivered over 2.1 million customers in Q4, while managing the balance between growth and profitability. Needless to say, 2014 was a record breaking year.”

Preliminary Fourth Quarter 2014 Customer Results

In the fourth quarter, T-Mobile added 2.1 million net customers. This was the seventh quarter in a row that the Company has generated more than 1 million net customer additions. For the full-year 2014, T-Mobile added 8.3 million net customers, an 89% increase from the prior year.

T-Mobile also reported ongoing strength with respect to its branded postpaid customers in the fourth quarter of 2014. Branded postpaid net customer additions were 1.3 million, which represents a 47% improvement compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. Branded postpaid phone net additions were over 1.0 million. For the full-year 2014, the Company reported branded postpaid net customer additions of 4.9 million, significantly above the revised guidance for branded postpaid net customer additions of 4.3 and 4.7 million provided in connection with the third quarter of 2014 earnings.

Branded prepaid net customer additions in the fourth quarter of 2014 were 266,000. Year-over-year, the improved performance was due to the continued strength of the MetroPCS brand.

The strength of T-Mobile’s customer proposition is also reflected in the postpaid porting ratios with the Company attracting customers at an overall ratio of 2.1 to 1.0 versus the competition for full-year 2014. For the fourth quarter of 2014, T-Mobile saw positive postpaid porting ratios of 1.4 versus Verizon, 1.8 versus AT&T, and 2.2 versus Sprint.

These strong porting trends have continued at similar levels into the new year. Simply put, T-Mobile continues to take share from each of the three other national carriers.

“Porting ratios have been in our favor vs. the competition for seven consecutive quarters and it looks like we will continue to beat everyone on total postpaid phone adds as well,” continued Legere. “We are not slowing down, and customers know it. Just a few weeks ago we unveiled Un-carrier 8.0, introducing Data Stash with 10GB free LTE data to qualifying Simple Choice customers. Now we are the only national provider to let you roll over your unused high-speed data. Clearly customers are seeing through the tricks and the confusion that the other guys offer and coming to T-Mobile for our solutions.”

Wholesale net customer additions in the fourth quarter of 2014 were 586,000, compared to 555,000 in the third quarter of 2014 and 664,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013. Machine to Machine (M2M) net customer additions were 152,000 and Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) net customer additions were 434,000.

T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network, the nation’s fastest based on download speed tests, now covers 265 million people.

Wideband LTE is available in 121 metro areas, including most recently New York City. The Company has started deploying its 700 MHz A-Block low-band spectrum with service launched in Washington, DC, Minneapolis, Colorado Springs, and Cleveland. In total, T-Mobile owns or has agreements to own 700 MHz A-Block spectrum covering nearly 190 million people.

America’s Un-carrier plans to share more details and its full financial results for fourth quarter and full-year 2014 later in February.

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