T-Mobile CFO: Samsung 'has really fallen behind the eight ball'

T-Mobile's CFO called out Samsung specifically in discussing how the operator's vendors have so far weathered the shortage of electronics components.

"Samsung has really fallen behind the eight ball relative to other OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] on the global supply chain issue," said T-Mobile CFO Peter Osvaldik during an investor event Tuesday. Specifically, Osvaldik noted that Samsung discontinued its Galaxy Note smartphone "which many of our customers just loved," and that many of the company's S-series smartphones "are in very short supply."

"A lot of our customer base are very significant Samsung lovers, and so we probably saw a little bit more of the supply chain issue there," he said. "Others that have a more Apple-oriented base are probably less likely to be impacted by this."

"It's something that we closely watch," he continued, but he said that, at least so far, T-Mobile doesn't feel the need to change its customer growth guidance due to the issue.

Interestingly, Osvaldik said that T-Mobile also suffered from some shortages of its fixed wireless Internet equipment earlier this year, but that "we're already seeing increasing supply there."

And he said that "from a network perspective, we're not experiencing any supply chain delays." That's important considering T-Mobile is in the midst of a massive 5G network buildout of its midband 2.5GHz spectrum holdings.

Osvaldik's comments represent a rare public lashing of Samsung's smartphone business – and are particularly noteworthy considering Apple on Tuesday launched its newest lineup of iPhones. Although Apple has not yet suffered any major supply chain problems so far due to ongoing global component shortages, some analysts expect the iPhone vendor to struggle to meet demand later this year and into next year due to the issue.

Samsung's supply issues weren't the only problems that T-Mobile has faced recently. Osvaldik said that the operator's recent hack – which released the personal data of millions of customers – also cut into its customer gains.

"We definitely saw some temporary customer cautiousness," he said of the hack. However, Osvaldik added that "our [customer] flows are beginning to normalize."

"We're taking significant steps to enhance our security," he added.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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