Tue, Jul. 28, 10:06 PM
- Another quarter of telecom earnings, and another quarter where analysts figure that Sprint (NYSE:S) will be overtaken by T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) in total customers to take the No. 3 spot among U.S. wireless providers.
- Last quarter, T-Mobile effectively captured all of the industry's subscriber growth, but Sprint held the No. 3 position, 57.1M customers to 56.8M, despite shedding some core postpaid phone subscribers.
- Now, analysts expect heat (and perhaps more Twitterfights) as they predict that T-Mobile may have finally taken the lead in the quarter ended June 30.
- GSMA Intelligence is expecting T-Mobile to report 58.9M customers to Sprint's 58.3M connections, when Sprint releases its final numbers Aug. 4.
- "It almost has a psychological significance that trumps the practical significance," says IDC's John Jackson.
- T-Mobile reports Thursday, and consensus estimates have it reporting $0.22/share in earnings on $7.96B in revenues and $1.77B in EBITDA. Sprint reports Aug. 4, and consensus estimates have it posting a loss of $0.05/share on $8.33B in revenues and $1.82B EBITDA.
Mon, Jul. 20, 3:25 PM
- The FCC is pointing to March 29 -- very late in Chairman Tom Wheeler's Q1 2016 target -- to begin its incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast airwaves, according to a list of agenda items it's circulating.
- Observers had worried that a postponement of voting on auction rules until Aug. 6 would endanger the Q1 plan. The FCC had delayed the final vote so that stakeholders could submit filings on the rules, with the "duplex gap" a particular point of contention.
- The exact start date is still subject to change before the final FCC vote.
- Spectrum players: VZ, T, TMUS, S, DISH, SBGI, EVC
- Previously: FCC delays rules vote for broadcast spectrum auction (Jul. 15 2015)
Fri, Jul. 17, 3:14 PM
- T-Mobile (TMUS -1.6%) will pay a $17.5M fine to the FCC to settle a case over two 911 outages (separate but related) last August, the largest fine for an emergency-services disruption.
- The outages were nationwide, meaning that 50M customers were prevented from reaching emergency help for hours. An FCC probe found that T-Mobile failed to alert the affected 911 call centers in a timely manner.
- It's the fourth such case at the FCC this year, following settlements with CenturyLink, Intrado Communications and Verizon over an April 2014 six-hour outage.
Thu, Jul. 16, 5:17 PM
- The battle to provide a unified North American calling zone continues, as America Movil (AMX +0.6%) launches a plan to let postpaid Telcel customers call the U.S. without roaming charges.
- The plan, released ahead of the company's Q2 results, includes voice, text and data in the U.S., for an additional 50 pesos/month (about $3.16). The company is considering adding Canada to that plan as well.
- Following AT&T's (NYSE:T) move to offer World Connect users unlimited calls from U.S. to Mexico, T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) said it would give Simple Choice customers coverage/calling in Mexico and Canada for free (and then followed up in prepaid style with a MetroPCS plan for free calling/coverage in Mexico).
- At an event today where he announced the new plan, CEO Daniel Hajj said the company planned to invest $6B in its network in Mexico over the next three years.
- Previously: MetroPCS promos free Mexico calling/roaming plan (Jul. 15 2015)
- Previously: T-Mobile: 2.1M customers added last quarter (Jul. 09 2015)
Thu, Jul. 16, 3:57 PM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) has jumped this hour, up 3.7%, on talk that a discussed merger between Dish Network and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) is stalling out on concerns about valuation and structure, Bloomberg is saying.
- A plan to merge Sprint and T-Mobile had faded last year on regulatory concerns, and since then T-Mobile has been linked to a number of players in the industry.
- Many Sprint investors are calling for a new look at a Sprint/T-Mobile merger, considering the gap between the two and U.S. industry leaders AT&T and Verizon.
- Previously: Dish slips 3%: FCC set to reject discounts, T-Mobile merger stalling (Jul. 16 2015)
- Previously: T-Mobile and Dish Network: Other options, other suitors (Jun. 12 2015)
Thu, Jul. 16, 3:46 PM
- Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) has tumbled just before the close -3.1%, on reports coming over the wires that the FCC is ready to reject the $3.3B in spectrum-auction discounts that it earned earlier this year, and that a merger with T-Mobile (TMUS -1.1%) has stalled out.
- The agency has reviewed the $13.3B in bids that Dish won using affiliated small-business entities and reportedly determined the DEs don't quality for a discount, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
- T-Mobile and Dish weren't moving that fast on a tie-up, and now the merger may be stalled out on concerns about valuation and structure, Bloomberg reports.
- A deal may not happen this year as the companies soon need to turn their attention to the early-2016 spectrum auction -- either bidding as one company, or still two.
Wed, Jul. 15, 5:38 PM
- Under congressional pressure, the FCC is delaying tomorrow's vote on rules -- including the contentious issue of set-asides -- for the upcoming broadcast incentive spectrum auction until Aug. 6.
- "I believe that even with this delay we will be able to stay on course for the first quarter of 2016," Chairman Tom Wheeler says about the pushback.
- A few House Republicans pressed for a delay after a late-Friday release of data covering potential outcomes around repacking the "duplex gap" -- an about-to-be-crowded frequency band that FCC staff chose last year to dedicate to Wi-Fi and unlicensed uses as well as licensed broadcast news mics, but recently reversed position on.
- The delay seems to have made no stakeholder very happy. The move also means that settling the issue of reserve spectrum (Smaller carriers than AT&T and Verizon have urged a bigger reserve than the current 30 MHz planned).
- Spectrum players: VZ, T, TMUS, S, DISH
Wed, Jul. 15, 4:50 PM
- Following suit with parent T-Mobile's (TMUS -1%) North American plans, prepaid brand MetroPCS has introduced free calling to and coverage in Mexico (at least this year).
- The Mexico Unlimited plan is available to customers at no cost until 2016 if they sign up by the end of August. Next year, customers will pay $5/month.
- T-Mobile says last year 35% of international calls and 55% of international travel from the U.S. were to Mexico and Canada.
- "Boost and Cricket offer you exactly zero data coverage in Mexico, so the moment you cross the Mexican border, your phone becomes a brick as far as data's concerned,” says CEO John Legere.
Tue, Jul. 14, 2:29 PM
- In its latest competitive move toward overtaking Sprint, T-Mobile (TMUS +0.4%) has cut prices and increased data budgets on family plans.
- The new offering has 10 gigabytes of data for each of a family of two, for $100 and $20 per extra line. The company is promo pricing a fourth line for free for families of four.
- The move means it's cutting its two-person $100/month unlimited data plan -- following in the footsteps of Verizon, one of the first to roll out shared-data options for families.
Fri, Jul. 10, 6:42 PM
- T-Mobile (TMUS +0.6%) and Dish Network (DISH +2.7%) entered into merger talks last month in a media/telecom industry boiling with consolidation, but who would benefit more from the tie-up?
- Barclays' Amir Rozwadowski (while laboring not to comment on the specific deal) hints that T-Mobile may have the bigger benefit in getting their hands on Dish's spectrum haul.
- More and more of us are consuming mobile video, and that calls for "bigger highways," he says: "When you look at where T-Mobile's need will be -– not over the next one to two years, because they definitely have a strong spectrum portfolio to support themselves -– but when you look at the data bandwidth growth over the next five to 10 years, there is certainly an attractiveness to having more spectrum." (video)
- Asked whether T-Mobile CEO John Legere needs to do a deal after failing to tie up with AT&T or Sprint: "I think the question really is, how much -- grand ideas does he have for the business over the longer term?"
- Last week, analyst Craig Moffett expressed skepticism the deal would go through and that it wasn't about synergies: "Although it was touted as Dish buying T-Mobile, it would really be T-Mobile buying Dish's spectrum through a complicated transaction."
Fri, Jul. 10, 2:43 PM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) is down 2.2%, and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) up 0.6%, as Stifel Nicolaus launches new coverage on the U.S. wireless sector and rates both stocks at Hold.
- Analyst John Karidis says T-Mobile faces uncertainty in acquiring low-band spectrum (and the company has been vocal about pressing for bigger airwave reserves in the upcoming broadcast incentive auction), and a threat from the bigger carriers pushing for mobile video service.
- In the case of Sprint, though, he lacks confidence the firm can increase its value regardless of its relative spectrum wealth, and that it's "markedly tougher" to forecast free cash flow because of the difficulty of figuring profit and cash timing. He does note minority shareholders "are too battle hardened to give up on the stock at this price."
- Sprint is trading today at $3.82 after hitting a 52-week low of $3.74; T-Mobile is at $39.01, off a 52-week high of $40.77.
Thu, Jul. 9, 9:40 AM
- T-Mobile (TMUS +2.6%) says it gained 2.1M customers last quarter as it pushes to overtake Sprint (NYSE:S) as the country's third-largest wireless carrier.
- The adds brought T-Mobile to 58.9M users. Early figures suggest that branded new monthly phone users were 760K.
- The carrier also said it was adding Canada and Mexico to its roaming plan, calling its Simple Choice the "first and only wireless plan to span an entire continent" -- a tweak at AT&T (T +0.5%) and its ambitions for a U.S.-Mexico zone.
- Previously: Sprint's Claure to T-Mobile's Legere: Tired of 'Uncarrier bullshit' (Jul. 02 2015)
Wed, Jul. 8, 7:25 PM
- On a down day for U.S. markets at large and the sector in particular, Sprint (NYSE:S) still led telecom decliners, -8.3% (its biggest one-day drop in eight months) on a day where NYSE trading was interrupted for more than three hours.
- Analyst Craig Moffett thinks the government may take a different stance than it did before on a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) -- if Sprint "really is in severe financial distress, as we think they will be within a relatively short period of time."
- A Sprint/T-Mobile tie-up, though, wouldn't happen until after the next presidential election, if at all, he said.
- Asked about merger talk between T-Mobile and Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), meanwhile, Moffett thinks that's "unlikely" and "not about the business synergy between two businesses."
- "Although it was touted as Dish buying T-Mobile, it would really be T-Mobile buying Dish's spectrum through a complicated transaction."
- This spring, Moffett has pointed to cash burn in saying that if T-Mobile goes to another acquirer, "Sprint's in a world of hurt" and running out of good options. "At the current rate of cash burn, the company will run out of cash in a year."
- Previously: T-Mobile and Dish Network: Other options, other suitors (Jun. 12 2015)
Tue, Jul. 7, 9:34 PM
- Next week, the FCC is looking to keep a landmark broadcast incentive wireless spectrum auction on track for early next year despite contentious debates from stakeholders -- and if it does, it's a boon for T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS), says Guggenheim's Paul Gallant.
- That's because though T-Mobile and Sprint (NYSE:S) have pushed for a bigger reserve of spectrum for "smaller carriers" (i.e.: them), a delay might mean that the current 30 MHz set-aside was at risk.
- Meanwhile, the airwaves will be coming from TV broadcasters who must go along with any plan -- meaning they expect to see prices they like. A group representing smaller broadcasters say if the framework isn't revised, opening prices for broadcasters could be reduced by $8M.
- Major broadcasters (ABC (NYSE:DIS), CBS, NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA), FOX) aren't expected to be key airwaves sellers, while smaller groups like Sinclair (NASDAQ:SBGI) and Entravision (NYSE:EVC) are expected to sell.
- Related firms: T, VZ
- Previously: FCC chairman: Cap bid credits, keep smaller spectrum set-aside (Jun. 25 2015)
Thu, Jul. 2, 10:49 AM
- Sprint (S -0.4%) CEO Marcelo Claure may have hit his limit with notoriously profane commentary from T-Mobile (TMUS +0.7%) CEO John Legere, as Claure posted from his Twitter account that he is "so tired of your Uncarrier bullshit."
- Claure unleashed a mini-storm of tweets after Legere criticized Sprint's "All-In" simplified pricing model by pointing to a critical Re/code piece.
- "I am so tired of your Uncarrier bullshit when you are worse than the other two carriers together," Claure said over a few tweets. "Your cheap misleading lease imitation is a joke. You trick people to believe that they have a 15 dollar iphone lease payment when it's not true."
- "You tell them they can upgrade up to 3x but you don't tell them the price goes up to 27 dollars when they do. You say one thing but behave completely different. It's all a fake show. So its really #Tmobilelikehell."
Thu, Jul. 2, 10:24 AM
- T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) is up 0.3% after Buckingham Research has launched coverage of the stock at Buy.
- The firm set a price target of $50. T-Mobile shares are trading currently at $38.71.
- On Tuesday, RBC Capital had boosted its own price target for T-Mobile to $41, from $39.
- Previously: U.S. wireless (T, VZ, TMUS, S) higher as RBC raises targets (Jun. 30 2015)
T-Mobile US Inc provides wireless communication services in the postpaid, prepaid, and wholesale markets. The Company's products and services include voice, messaging, data services, wireless devices, smartphones and other mobile communication devices.
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