T-Mobile Ducks Q3 Call to Dodge Sprint M&A Questions
In a surprise move, T-Mobile announced its third quarter results in a pre-recorded video Monday morning, avoiding an analyst call that would have been deluged with questions about the rumors of an imminent merger between the "Un-carrier" and Sprint.
"With all the rumors and speculation out there, we decided we wanted to make sure you saw and focused on our Q3 results," said T-Mobile US Inc. CEO, John Legere by way of explanation on the video blog. The CEO and his team usually hold forth on earnings call Q&As, taking an hour or more to praise their results and bash competitors, but not this time.
An announcement about a merger between Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile is expected this October or in early November. Some analysts expect the deal to come down as early as this week. (See Verizon Says Fixed 5G Will Happen in 2018, Less Clear on Mobile and Sprint & T-Mobile Aim to Keep as Much Spectrum as Possible in Merger – Report.)
Shortly after T-Mobile's report today, Sprint announced it will reveal its fiscal second-quarter results on October 25 and also declined to hold a live conference call. All of which is bound to throw fuel onto the already burning rumor fire about an imminent deal.
For its third quarter ended September 30, T-Mobile added 1.3 million net customers. This included 595,000 adds who took on a monthly contract (postpaid) and 226,000 pay-as-you-go (pre-paid) net adds.
"We expect to lead the industry in postpaid phone net adds for the 15th quarter in a row with 595,000 net adds -- that's more than twice what Verizon just reported," said T-Mobile in an additional Q&A document.
"Today we cover 316 million POPs of LTE with 321 million POPs targeted by the end of the year," Legere said. The operator has started deploying LTE on 600MHz this year, and says it has now agreed to clear a portion of 600MHz spectrum in New York City in early 2018. The advantage of 600MHz for T-Mobile is better coverage range and in-building coverage.
T-Mobile now says it will deploy its initial 5G network nationwide in the 2019-2020 timeframe on some of that 600MHz it won at auction this year. "We are deploying some of our 600MHz with 5G-ready equipment so when the time comes we can literally turn on 5G with modest baseband and software upgrades."
T-Mobile's total revenue for the quarter hit $10 billion, up from $9.3 billion. Net income was up to $550 million, compared to $366 million in the same quarter a year ago.The company beat analyst expectations with earnings per share of $0.63 for the quarter.
T-Mobile's shares are up 1.55% at $61.44 in Monday morning trading.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading