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5G and Beyond

T-Mobile shows big customer gains, promises more

T-Mobile reported significant increases in the number of new mobile and fixed wireless customers in its third quarter report and said it expects to maintain that momentum throughout the rest of the year.

The operator reported 1.6 million postpaid net customer additions, which it said was more than the number AT&T and Verizon reported in the period, combined. In terms of postpaid phone net customer additions, T-Mobile said it added 854,000 – a figure far above the number Verizon reported and also slightly above the number AT&T reported in the third quarter.

T-Mobile officials pointed to the operator's speedy 5G network as one reason for its progress in the market. Indeed, T-Mobile said its 2.5GHz midband 5G network now covers 250 million people.

Company officials also said the operator's network integration project – stemming from its acquisition of Sprint in 2020 – is largely finished.

In its fixed wireless access (FWA) business, T-Mobile reported a total of 578,000 new customers. That figure includes around 90,000 prepaid customers and is roughly on par with what the company reported in the second quarter.

T-Mobile now has more than 2 million FWA customers, a number the company has said it hopes to increase to 8 million by 2025. Company officials continue to argue that T-Mobile's network has sufficient capacity to service those customers.

"We've barely tapped our millimeter wave [spectrum] assets," T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert explained, noting that T-Mobile has additional spectrum resources it could allocate for extra FWA capacity.

"We're in a good place," added Neville Ray, T-Mobile's networking chief.

During the company's quarterly conference call, Sievert said he expects to see that T-Mobile had more broadband customer gains than "AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Charter combined." Charter has not yet reported its third quarter results, but Comcast, AT&T and Verizon did not post major gains in broadband customers in the third quarter.

Indeed, FWA remains a major force in the US broadband industry, contributing to a historic slowdown in US cable industry growth.

Finally, T-Mobile also raised its overall financial guidance for the full fiscal year 2022. This is the third time the operator has raised expectations for 2022.

Specifically, T-Mobile said it now expects to gain a total of between 6.2 million and 6.4 million postpaid net customer additions during 2022, up from its prior guidance of 6 million to 6.3 million. T-Mobile also raised its expectations for earnings in 2022.

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

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