T-Mobile added a net total of 1.1 million customers in the first quarter, climbing above 72 million customers for the first time, while posting total quarterly revenue of $9.6 billion and higher-than-expected profit of $698 million, up 46 percent from a year ago.
The results translate into earnings of 80 cents per share, more than double Wall Street’s expectations of 34 cents per share. The subscriber gains include 914,000 branded postpaid wireless customers, the coveted class of subscribers on lucrative monthly wireless plans.
T-Mobile’s continued surge follows Verizon’s earnings report last week, showing a decline more than 300,000 postpaid wireless subscribers. Verizon’s overall count of retail wireless customers slipped below 114 million for the period — still well ahead of T-Mobile, even with the smaller rival’s steady gains.
T-Mobile’s growth came despite the other major wireless carriers joining T-Mobile in introducing or updating unlimited data plans.
It’s the latest piece of positive news for the Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless carrier, following its successful $8 billion bid in a Federal Communications Commission auction for low-band wireless spectrum licenses previously owned by broadcast networks. T-Mobile said it acquired 45 percent of all available low-band spectrum in the auction, enough to cover all of the U.S.
“This new low band is going to allow us to compete in every single corner of the country,” while improving coverage for existing customers, as well, said T-Mobile CEO John Legere on the company’s earnings conference call.
Legere was even more effusive than normal in the company’s earnings release: “We’ve been beating up on the competition for over 4 years now while making wireless better for consumers,” he said. “Q1 was no different with T-Mobile again producing the best customer and financial growth in the industry. Add to that our recent success in the 600 MHz spectrum auction and it’s clear we’re just getting started!”
Here’s the live video stream of the company’s earnings call.