T-Mobile has uninspiring Q1



T-Mobile has just announced its Q1 2013 numbers, folks, and things aren’t looking quite as peachy as T-Mobile’s new “UNcarrier” attitude would have you believe. T-Mobile’s aggressive new strategy caused the company to take some nasty bumps. While pre-paid revenue was up to $507 million on the quarter from $474 million last quarter, the company’s post-paid segment revenues dropped nearly 5% to $3.2 billion. In all, T-Mobile’s $4.7 billion of revenue this year was about $200 million less than what they did the same quarter a year ago.

Profits were also slim at $107 million. This is a steep drop from the $200 million T-Mobile made in Q1 2012, but compared to last quarter — where Magenta didn’t even turn a profit — it looks quite promising. T-Mobile boasted a total net additions number of 579,000, driven by strong pre-paid additions of 202,000. T-Mobile lost 199,000 post-paid accounts, but that is a staggering year-over-year improvement of 61%. Another glimmer of hope from the company was its churn rate of 1.9%, the lowest since Q2 2008.

It will take a lot of work to keep these numbers moving in the right direction, and T-Mobile’s banking on its bold new strategy to help do just that. While the company’s new plan and pricing structures are more attractive than most other carriers’, it still has to find a way to lure customers away from their comfort zones.

That should be easier to do in 2013 with a planned aggressive rollout of its 4G LTE network, and with the spectrum MetroPCS provides it will put T-Mobile in good position to get their network in tip-top shape to better compete with the big boys. Head to T-Mobile’s site for the full numbers.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Don’t they expect drops in postpaid as they move customers to prepaid?
    Heck, I would think any business would be happy to get their money up front.

    1. Is it really prepaid though? With the new plans do you have to pay for the first month first, if not then its not really prepaid but still postpaid.

  2. T-Mobile needs to increase their coverage area if they want people to switch. Where I live Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T all have 4G LTE while T-Mobile doesn’t even have a 3G network, and is stuck on the old EDGE network, if you can even get that. Prices don’t mean a thing if you can’t get a signal.

    1. I saw their coverage map. It looked like most of the Northwestern USA had no coverage at all. I was like for real? LoL!!

      1. Some of their plans have agreements w/ ATT so that when you are out of T-mobile coverage area you can still make a call on ATTs network.

        I am on their 30/ month prepaid plan for the last month and I love it.

      2. people live over there?

    2. T-mobile’s coverage (or lack thereof) isn’t the issue for me, in North Texas. My wife and I are still stuck in contracts with AT&T that I don’t want to terminate (because I don’t want to pay two ETFs). My contract is up in a few months. We’ll pay her ETF and make the switch over to T-mobile then.
      That’s probably not a majority factor, but it definitely plays a roll. (I’m not the only person that’s under contract that found T-mobile’s new plans appealing.) It could be another 18 months before everyone legitimately reconsiders their new plans.

    3. EXACTLY!!! – thats y i had to leave them for 6 years – because i was tired of EDGE and no service on some places in VA- they are the perfect CITY carrier – but no so much for the burbs! so unless they can appeal to the folks outside of major towns/cities – they need to invest outside the populated areas.

    4. That’s how Sprint is where I live. At&t and Verizon have lte, t-mo has 3g, and Sprint has roaming.

  3. The sinking ship that can’t stop taking on water

    1. wow, Ignorance “does” have a name.

      1. What’s the matter T-Mobile customer? Butt hurt that something negative was said about a company you probably don’t even own shares of?

        I was a T-Mobile customer for 8 years till I got tired of them taking forever to expand their coverage and upgrade to true 4G. It was also frustrating how it took a couple years for them to start bringing in the best Android phones that carries like Verizon and AT&T had. Their customer service has gone down in quality too. They will continue to be behind in all around quality; it’s just fact. If you’re going to give your money to a company, give it to one that’s on top of it’s stuff.

        1. or you could move to a city.

        2. ProTIP: none of today’s carriers have “true 4G”.

        3. “Upgrade to true 4g”
          No carrier has true 4g until they roll out LTE-advanced.

          Do you really care that much about buzzwords?
          The speeds you get is what matters and I’m consistently hitting 18Mbps on T-mo for 1/3 the price of the lowest tier plan on ATT or VZW who’s LTE networks top out at around 22Mbps in my area.

          If that’s a sinking ship then you’re delusional.

  4. Sounds like everything is going according to plan. They’re getting people to hop on board their prepaid offerings while more or less abandoning contracts. The loss in prophets are simply growing pains that come with spectrum refarming. Tmetro is right on track

  5. I too am on contract with another carrier. 4 lines left. One has already made the switch to T-Mobile unlimited everything and loves it so far. Once my other lines contracts are up, they’ll be heading to T-Mobile also. Eventually 5 lines with unlimited everything for much less than what I’m paying now.
    Unlimited data is the key reason.

  6. forgot to mention the 500k iphones tmobile sold in less than a month..

    1. He conveniently forgot….

    2. I would have if it were relevant.

      1. very relevant. fastest selling phone ever at tmobile = more revenue more customers …. less customers leaving

        1. True, but I feared folks would scream at me and tell me this isn’t an iPhone blog. I guess I lose either way.

  7. maybe next quarter.

  8. The first quarter didn’t have the new rate plans in place. It was based on the old business model. It will not be until next quarter and beyond that you see the impact of the “uncarrier” plans.

  9. baby T pick up the slack

  10. I love T Mobile, it’s cheap and fast. Normally I’m in metropolitan areas so I’m covered, I can see why those in rural areas wouldn’t want T Mobile though.

  11. I’m still very skeptical of t-mobile’s future. Their new plan structure is misleading and doesn’t really explain itself to customers. Basically to the customer, they’re getting worse coverage, the same or higher monthly payments, and maybe a slightly better phone for the price. The ONLY advantage of their plans is that they include tethering. If you take away tethering, which the typical customer doesn’t care about, their plans don’t really offer an advantage. In my eyes, they’ve simply taken the typical “early termination fee” and changed it to a “pay off” charge for the rest of your phone’s balance so that you can leave kind of thing.

    1. “the same or higher monthly payments”

      When I switched I came from a plan with 450 minutes and unlimited data on VZW for over $70 a month to a $30 a month plan with 100 minutes and unlimited text/data. If I would have added SMS to my VZW plan or switched to any of their new “share” plans, it would have been literally triple the price that I’m paying now with T-mo.

      Which plans are you comparing that are even close in price?

      1. You’re completely missing the point. I’m referring to the “new” plan structure as I said. I also have the $30/month plan with t-mobile so I’m very aware of that plan.

        Compare that $70/month verizon plan as you said, to t-mobile’s unlimited minutes, texts and 2 gb data plan for $60/month. If you buy a premium phone like the galaxy s 4, that’s $150 down and then an additional $20/month, and whad’ya know, you’re paying $80/month and you’re still locked in for 2 years paying off your phone unless you pay the early termination fee…oh wait, I mean unless you pay off your phone’s price. Yeah, t-mobile’s plan has tethering as I originally said, but the average customer doesn’t care for it, and their coverage isn’t that good anyway so you might not even be able to use tethering when you want to anyway.

        1. The difference the is verizon’s cheapest single plan is $100/mo, ($60 for their plan and $40 per line). So compare $100 to 80. If you get a new 2 year “contract on both.” With a big difference of as soon as your phone is paid off, your tmobile price will drop to $60/mo. So for all of those people who’s contract ends in december but wait until may to get the new galaxy s or htc phone, that adds up. It also adds up to those like parents or siblings or kids, who don’t need to upgrade their phone every 2 years.

          1. Verizon is just one of the major carriers. You can still get a plan for $80/month with att or sprint. With verizon’s coverage and lte, at least you know exactly what you’re paying for. And then there’s a ton of options as far as prepaid carriers like straight talk and net10 that offer plans way cheaper than t-mobile’s “new” prepaid plans. There are just too many options on either side of t-mobiles plans to justify their plans. I’d either just get on a 2-year contract with att or verizon and get better coverage, or just go with straight talk or net10 and get something really cheap. I have the $30/month plan with t-mobile, but 100 minutes/month isn’t feasible for most people. No way I’d be on t-mobile if I was paying over $40/month.

            Think about it…you could go with net10 and get unlimited data, texts and talk for $50/month. Why pay $60/month to t-mobile and then be locked in paying $20/month for 2 years.

          2. You arent taking into account all of the important variables, for one, Att’s comparable plan is $90/mo. And sprint’s network isnt one to brag about anywhere right now, at least not yet.
            “With Verizon’s coverage and LTE you know exactly what you are paying for” – that statement is not true. Like any carrier, your experience varies by what city you are in. In New York City, Tmobile’s average data speeds are actually faster than Verizon’s in my personal experience. I have a Nexus 4 and average 10-12 mbps, while friends and family and co workers seem to average 6-8 mbps most of the time whenever i make them speed test in various parts of the city. As far as “better coverage goes” All major carriers have perfect good coverage in nyc, only difference is verizon has stronger covering in some subway stations or basements.
            The other prepaid carriers are good choices, but have no phone subsidizing options for those who may want it, and their throttling habbits have been known to vary from anything from 1 gb to 2.5gb with no way of knowing what you will actually get. (that is what i hear, not through my experience).

            “locked into paying $20 for 2 months” – that’s an option but its not a given. If you phone is cheaper than $650, then you are paying less than that for 2 years, or you are paying $20/mo for only one year. Or you dont have to pay that extra at all. Also, so many times people wait 6 months after their contract ends to get the new galaxy s or htc phone. That’s saving you $120 right there of 6 months with $20 less dollars a month. Or for those kids or siblings or parents who have 3 year old phones. On other carriers, even after the 2 years are up, your bill is not dropping down any less. You may not be on contract but your bill would still be $90/mo even if your contract ended 6 months ago(not 80 if we are comparing comparable plans).

            Obviously tmobile isnt great everywhere, but if you live in one of the major cities, which quite a lot of people do. There is no reason why Tmobile couldnt be a viable option, if not the best deal. but that’s entirely based on your location.

            Unless you are always travelling, i dont care what my carrier’s coverage is like in Ohio. i’m in New York, i care about my New York speeds.

          3. We could go back and forth about this over and over. The fact is that t-mobile’s new plan do nothing more than take the typical scheme of subsidizing a phone and locking you into an expensive plan for two years and change some language. Instead you’re not getting a “subsidized” phone price, but instead you’re making a down payment, and then no matter which way you look at it, you’re locked into paying that phone off for 2 years. And on top of all this, their prepaid plans definitely aren’t better than what you can get from straight talk or net 10. Yeah, t-mobile has great value, but I think they’re kind of overstepping and misleading people with their new plans. If I didn’t like t-mobile, they wouldn’t be my carrier, but even still, these new plans are not revolutionary.

            And please don’t start with the “Like any carrier, your experience varies by what city you are in”. Yeah yeah yeah sometimes one carrier is going to be faster than the other, but it’s common knowledge that verizon has the best coverage and most lte coverage overall, I’m not trying to look at your specific situation. T-mobile seems to always have good coverage in the middle of any metropolitan, but if you start to go out into the suburbs even a little, t-mobile’s coverage is going to vary wildly from one house to the next.

          4. We could go back and forth all day. But my point is you seem to be stepping over a very important factor. That “2 year contract” is very optional and flexible. It could a one year contract or no contract at all. And if you choose the no contract option your bill will be significantly cheaper, where as on other carriers, even after your 2 year contract or even if your using an old phone or bring your own device, your bill will be the exact same price. Also, straight talk or net work may be very good, but you have to have to keep in mind their throttling numbers are hidden and seem to vary from person to person, from anywhere from 1gb to 3 gb. T-Mobile’s plans might not be for you, but just because they arent for you doesnt mean they have no value. You can disagree with their value to you personally, but dont skip over all of the nuances that matter in your argument.

          5. you’re not locked into anything. you can pay off your phone in six months and knock $20 off your bill for the rest of the time you have you phone and plan. the minimum down payment and installments reflect a two year span of payments. you can switch your plan up month by month and you can switch your phone too once you pay it off. unlimited talk text and 4G data for $70. you’re gonna be paying double that on verizon, ATT, and sprint to have unlimited everything.

            i will say this though, if you’re someone who does a lot of traveling Tmobile isnt the best choice. you’ll have no choice but to go with verizon or ATT. sprint sucks.

          6. you arent getting anything from the other 3 carriers for $80 unless you want an absurdly gimped plan. you get exactly what you pay for with net10 and ST. both carriers throttle after a few GBs. and their coverage isnt any better than Tmobiles(ST actually uses Tmo’s network). ST and net10’s brand phone selection is pitiful and if you want to BYOD you’re gonna have to buy an unlocked phone at full price. at least Tmobile brand phone selection has many of the latest phones that you can pay off in installments at your own pace. not so for St and net10.

            unless you do a lot of traveling where you need coverage all over the place, you’re not gonna have that much better service than Tmobile with any of the other majors in metropolitan areas. i get just as good a service on MetroPCS as some people i know on major carriers where i live.

        2. If you’re referring to T-mo’s new plans, then you need to also look at VZW’s new plans. My old $70 a month VZW plan isn’t available anymore.

          With their new plans it’s $60 JUST for the 2GB of data and another $40 for talk/text.
          So in your comparison it would be $80 per month on T-mo even if you were paying a phone subsidy and $100 a month on Verizon. That’s already a significant savings that will only get better as soon as your subsidy is paid off whereas your cost of service on the other carriers will never decrease.

          So I don’t really see your issue with it.
          If T-mo has coverage in your area, their plans are a good deal for smartphone owners. You get to know how much your service and subsidy actually costs instead of getting reamed with an invisible charge even after you’ve paid off the phone.
          And the plans get even better if you just save up a few extra months and buy your phone outright.

  12. In my personal experience, I wish I had switched sooner. I clung to VZW due to the barrage of “It’s the best network” posts you see every time someone asks why people stick with VZW.

    …boy was that a bad idea.

    On Verizon, data and voice would drop, regardless of device, and I would be without voice for approx 4 miles and without data for around 10 on my way to and from work. This is through country/farmland, so I figured I was stuck and any other carrier would be worse.

    Well, after nearly a week on T-Mobile I can honestly say that was bullsh*t.

    I have yet to lose 4G or voice on that same route on T-Mobile. In fact, there’s none of the “garbled”, “marbles in their mouth”, or common screeching/static issues that plagued my Verizon service. Calls are *always* crystal clear. As an added bonus, up at my Dad’s, where there is a VZW dead-zone in pretty much his entire neighborhood, T-Mob: 4G and clear calls. Not a hitch.


    Yeah, that sounds like an ad. Well, I guess it is. Sorry guys.

    …now I just have to work at getting my other 4 lines off of VZW. The sooner the better.

  13. I paid $150 ETF to Sprint, and moved to T-Mobile a week ago. Getting 2Mbps download on average vs 0.05Mbps on Sprint. For me, this is a HUGE improvement.

  14. I tried their new plan for one month. Moved my whole family to them, 4 lines. The bill was so totally screwed up it was ridiculous. I had unlimited internet, my gf had the 2.5 GB, the other two lines had only the included 500 MB. Which should have made the bill $130+ tax… it was $260. Took multiple calls to “customer care” along with visits to 2 different stores to get the difference credited back. Their customer service and billing is a joke. Not to mention that was the most confusing bill I’ve ever tried to decipher. I went back to their prepaid plan.

  15. Well, I went into a t-mobile this weekend to check out the phones and maybe switch over. However the service was sooo bad. They only had 2 people working. All the phones were those cheap plastic fake models. I live in a Chicago suburb, so its not some out in the middle of nowhere location.

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