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T-Mobile eyed as 'the next big thing'

Amid a global pandemic and ongoing election uncertainty, T-Mobile issued a clear message to Wall Street: Things are good.

"We're consistently and profitably outpacing the competition – and we're just getting started!" said CEO Mike Sievert in the company's third quarter earnings release.

Financial analysts largely agreed. "What is now clear is that T-Mobile's share gains have not slowed. Indeed, they have only accelerated," wrote the analysts at MoffettNathanson in a note to investors following the release of T-Mobile's quarterly results.

Investors appear to be listening: T-Mobile's stock popped almost 8% on the release of its quarterly results, to roughly $126 per share.

Big beats, 5G momentum

As noted by the financial analysts at Raymond James, T-Mobile's quarterly metrics were above expectations in virtually every category. The company reported postpaid phone customer net additions of 689,000 in the third quarter, beating Wall Street expectations of 423,000. And T-Mobile's service revenues clocked in at $14.1 billion, above Wall Street's expectations of $13.6 billion.

Perhaps more importantly, T-Mobile also raised its guidance for the remainder of 2020. The company said it now expects to add up to 1.4 million postpaid phone customer net additions during the second half of 2020, far above most Wall Street expectations.

Both Verizon and AT&T also reported stronger-than-expected financial and customer metrics for the third quarter, but the analysts at MoffettNathanson noted T-Mobile's results exceeded expectations "by a mile."

Further, they wrote that T-Mobile is well on its way toward dominating the 5G sector.

"In 5G, T-Mobile won't just catch Verizon on network quality; we expect they will pass them by," the MoffettNathanson analysts wrote, noting that's particularly impressive given the fact that T-Mobile less than a decade ago was in last place in the US wireless industry. "Worst-to-first stories are rare. You don't have to believe that 5G is 'the next big thing' to believe that T-Mobile itself is, well, 'the next big thing.' "

T-Mobile executives spent much of their quarterly conference call Thursday promising that they're well positioned to continue to exceed expectations. Company officials said T-Mobile currently covers around 30 million people with its lowband and midband 5G network, which they said supports average speeds of around 300 Mbit/s, and that T-Mobile expects to expand that coverage to 100 million people by the end of 2020 and to 200 million people by the end of 2021.

Company officials also hinted that T-Mobile would embark on a major advertising campaign centered on its 5G network in the near future. They also said the operator expects to launch fixed wireless Internet services over its 5G network soon, and explained that the company's new TVision streaming TV service is designed to be paired with its forthcoming 5G home Internet service.

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

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