T-Mobile reports more growth, but price hikes loom

T-Mobile increased its postpaid phone customer base and its fixed wireless customer base. But company officials suggested the operator might employ some pricing hikes in the coming months.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies

April 25, 2024

3 Min Read
T-Mobile store with people lined up outside
(Source: T-Mobile)

T-Mobile reported the addition of another 532,000 net postpaid customers during the first quarter of 2024, ahead of most analyst expectations and surpassing the first quarter results from rivals like Verizon and AT&T.

But company officials hinted that T-Mobile might engage in some price hikes in the future, which could dampen the company's growth in the second and third quarters of 2024. They did not offer details on those planned pricing changes.

Nonetheless, T-Mobile raised its overall growth guidance for 2024. The company said it now expects total postpaid net customer additions between 5.2 million and 5.6 million during the course of 2024, which represents an increase from the company's prior guidance of 5 million to 5.5 million.

"We continued to take share in Q1 just as expected," said T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert. "Our model is working."

T-Mobile also grew its fixed wireless access (FWA) customer base. The company now counts a total of around 5.2 million such customers.

But its FWA growth rate is slowing. T-Mobile added 405,000 FWA customers during the first quarter, far less than the 541,000 FWA customers it added during the fourth quarter of 2023 and also less than the 523,000 FWA customers it added during the first quarter of 2023.

T-Mobile had previously warned of a slowdown in its FWA growth. And company officials have said the operator is still on track to reach its goal of 7-8 million FWA customers by 2025.

The M&A

During the company's quarterly conference call, T-Mobile officials also addressed some of the company's big recent corporate transactions.

First, T-Mobile now expects to close its purchase of MVNO Mint Mobile by May 1. T-Mobile officials had initially hoped to close the company's proposed acquisition of Mint Mobile and its estimated 3 million customers by the end of 2023. But, amid delays and complaints, T-Mobile recently promised to implement a new phone unlocking policy for Mint customers. That promise appears to have swayed regulators at the FCC to approve the deal. They did so on Thursday.

T-Mobile officials also addressed the company's new partnership with private equity firm EQT to buy Lumos, a fiber network operator across the Mid-Atlantic. T-Mobile will invest $950 million for a 50% stake in the new joint venture with EQT. After that, T-Mobile said it will invest another $500 million into the JV between 2027 and 2028.

With those investments, and additional investments from EQT, Lumos expects to build fiber to 3.5 million US homes by the end of 2028. That's only around 3% of the US marketplace. Meanwhile, T-Mobile's wireless network covers the vast majority of the entire US.

T-Mobile officials cheered the company's new Lumos deal, explaining that it will allow T-Mobile to put its brand on fiber offerings. But they declined to offer any further insights into T-Mobile's fiber strategy.

"We're open to constructs like this," Sievert said, hinting that T-Mobile might continue to ink such deals with fiber providers around the country.

About the Author(s)

Mike Dano

Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading

Mike Dano is Light Reading's Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies. Mike can be reached at [email protected], @mikeddano or on LinkedIn.

Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.

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