Now that it is up to the regulators to decide whether or not to sign off on the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, it is back to business as usual for both carriers. This afternoon, T-Mobile reported first quarter earnings, and for the 20th consecutive quarter, the wireless operator added more than 1 million net subscriber additions. Actually, the precise figure was 1.4 million and an impressive 1 million of them were in the branded postpaid category thanks to strength in wearables. Postpaid phone net additions, the metric that the carriers salivate over, came in at 617,000. That is expected to lead the industry for a remarkable 17th straight quarter. And the company announced 199,000 net prepaid net additions.
Yes, T-Mobile is a juggernaut and while they advertise that they won't stop, the rest of the industry is trying to figure out how to make them stop. Consider that churn, or a measure of subscriber turnover, hit an all-time low at 1.07%. That was down 11 basis points from the 1.18% figure reported for last year's first quarter. Service revenue, at $7.8 billion, was up 6.5%. That should be enough to lead the industry for 16 consecutive quarters.
Revenue topped expectations at $10.46 billion, while net income declined 4% to $671 million. T-Mobile earned 78 cents per share, which was up 63% from last year's number after excluding some after tax gains recorded in 2017.
T-Mobile now covers 322 million Americans with its 4G LTE signal and is aiming to reach 325 million by the end of the year. The carrier plans on continuing to deploy the 600MHz spectrum it bought for $7.9 billion during last year's FCC auction, in combination with its already widely used 700MHz low-frequency airwaves. The company forecasts adding 2.6 million to 3 million postpaid net additions for 2018. T-Mobile also claims to have had the fastest LTE network for 17 consecutive quarters, but that depends on who you ask.
T-Mobile is on a roll, one that no one in their right mind could have foreseen during the Carly years. And with the possible addition of Sprint, talk about T-Mobile catching up to AT&T- and even Verizon-doesn't seem so crazy anymore. T-Mobile president and CEO John Legere was talking with U.S. regulators all day and said that he was "highly confident about the transaction" with Sprint getting the necessary regulatory approval.
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