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Tue, Jan. 26, 9:03 PM
- While AT&T (earnings) and Sprint (earnings) led telecom news today, T-Mobile (TMUS +4.1%) took the opportunity to refresh its prepaid offerings.
- The company's new Simply Prepaid plans are an upgrade to the previous plans, and range from $25-$60 per month. A $40 plan offers unlimited text and talk along with 3 GB of high-speed data; $50 gets you 5 GB of high-speed data, and the top $60 plan has 10 GB. Those data amounts are upgrades from a previous 1, 3 and 5 GB respectively.
- A $25/month plan has unlimited talk and text, but no data, targeted for heavy Wi-Fi users, while a $30 plan offers 100 minutes of talk and 5 GB of 4G data with unlimited texts.
Thu, Jan. 7, 4:50 PM
- An afternoon rout helped push Sprint (NYSE:S) down 6.7% -- now just 8% over its 52-week low of $3.10 -- the opposite direction from T-Mobile (TMUS +1.2%), again today the only one of the big four wireless providers to gain.
- Shareholders might take heed of Bernstein's latest report on the area, which says that even with the interest floated by cable companies, satellite firms and foreign entrants, Sprint and T-Mobile are more likely to rekindle merger talks with each other than anyone else.
- Most observers have thought that after a failed run in 2014, any new merger talks would wait until a new presidential administration, and indeed: "The prospect of a Sprint/T-Mobile merger — the only transaction that can materially affect the mobile sector's structure, conduct, and performance — will remain an overhang throughout most of the year," says Bernstein's Paul de Sa.
- What's more, he writes, "We think major, irreversible strategic moves (for example, a massive network investment by Sprint or the sale of a majority stake of T-Mobile or Sprint to another owner, such as Dish Network (DISH -2.1%) or cable) is unlikely to occur" until there's more clarity about a possible merger between the two.
- Such a deal has "by far" the largest cost and revenue synergies of the possible transactions, he says.
Wed, Jan. 6, 6:09 PM
- Gabelli & Co. has put out its "Best Ideas" analyst roll-up for 2016, and in the technology, media, telecom area, it's highlighting a set: CBS, TRCO, TMUS, LMCA and EMC.
- The company's analysts see T-Mobile (TMUS -0.4%) as an attractive acquisition candidate -- “essentially the only way for a domestic or foreign company to enter the U.S. wireless market in a meaningful way" -- and Sergey Dluzhevshiy names Dish Network (DISH -2.3%) or Charter (CHTR -0.5%) as possible suitors.
- Meanwhile, the analysts see "more things that can go right for Tribune Media (NYSE:TRCO) than wrong," and echo Les Moonves' frequent assertions that CBS is "uniquely positioned to compete in a more fragmented and competitive U.S. TV ecosystem.”
- And Gabelli reiterated its Buy rating on EMC (EMC -1%), which it calls the market leader in enterprise storage.
- After hours: DISH +0.4%; CHTR -0.2%; EMC flat.
Dec. 31, 2015, 5:13 PM
- T-Mobile (TMUS -1.6%) ended the year as the big winner among the U.S. wireless big four, finishing up 45% for 2015. AT&T was the only other to gain, and was up 2.4% for the year.
- Looking ahead, T-Mobile is already hoping to make a splash in the FCC's broadcast incentive auction of wireless airwaves, with CEO John Legere looking to be a "winner."
- "The lowband spectrum auctions will be the most important in recent U.S. history and will shape the future of the wireless industry for decades to come," Legere writes. "I predict that T-Mobile will walk away a winner."
- AT&T (T -1%) and Verizon (VZ -1.2%) will have more money to spend in the auction, but likely less interest, as both built their LTE networks on "beachfront" 700 MHz spectrum.
- Wells Fargo, though, has predicted that AT&T will spend the most (along with Verizon spending the least) in the sale. Sprint (S -0.3%; down 12.8% this year) has said it will sit it out.
Dec. 31, 2015, 10:46 AM
- T-Mobile (TMUS -2%) is making a slight change to its phone insurance plans for the new year, changing from flat rates to tiers based on the devices involved.
- It currently offers its "premium handset protection" for $8/month, or $10 if tied in to its "Jump!" upgrade package or Lookout Mobile Security.
- New rates taking effect March 1, though, will see prices drop on lower tier phones such as feature phones (to $7 for insurance or $9 combos) while rising on "smarter" phones (to $10 and $12).
- T-Mobile is making the change nationwide.
Dec. 16, 2015, 11:15 AM
- T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) is outpacing the market again today, up 1.6% to follow up yesterday's gain of 4.5%.
- Among its latest holiday moves, the carrier today wrapped a daily promotion wave by offering $100 off certain Samsung smartphones and throwing in a year of Netflix (another $100 value) for customers taking advantage. (And it's pushing the Netflix offer by linking to its "Binge On" offering of streaming video exempt from any data caps.)
- It's also rolled out extended range LTE in New York (the largest metro market for wireless) as well as Seattle and Cincinnati.
- Extended Range LTE uses the 700 MHz spectrum to push LTE coverage over farther distances and penetrate buildings better.
Dec. 15, 2015, 4:09 PM
- Holiday trolling is still in vogue in the battle between Sprint (S +0.3%) and T-Mobile (TMUS +4.5%), as Sprint chief Marcelo Claure is sending a gift to competing employees with a special message.
- The company sent gift baskets with coffee, candy and snacks to T-Mobile employees with a card saying that while the two companies usually try to take business from each other, it's the season for giving.
- But an additional card with the basket says "Let's Move Forward. Together," and provides a link to Sprint's sales careers website.
- T-Mobile employees were told to throw out the baskets and avoid sharing on social media.
- Sprint's recent half-off promotion could be gaining it some 50,000 customers from T-Mobile alone this quarter, Jefferies analysts estimate.
Dec. 8, 2015, 12:11 PM
- T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) is bucking the market today, +1.3%, as Oppenheimer sees a strong Black Friday performance shows Sprint isn't making a significant dent.
- T-Mobile said its net adds on Black Friday nearly tripled Y/Y. Going into the Thanksgiving holiday, Sprint aimed an aggressive bill-halving promotion at subscribers to the other three U.S. wireless firms. Meanwhile, T-Mobile responded by offering $200 for each Sprint line switched to T-Mobile.
- Oppenheimer believes T-Mobile is gaining market share despite the competition, and notes the carrier estimated postpaid net adds would come in at the high end of guidance (and capex and at lower end of guidance) for fiscal 2015.
- Previously: Could Comcast make a Sprint/T-Mobile marriage happen? (Dec. 07 2015)
- Previously: Cowen: T-Mobile stock hits holding pattern as issues pile up (Dec. 04 2015)
Dec. 7, 2015, 6:47 PM
- A serious courtship between America's No. 3 and No. 4 wireless providers went sour in 2014 after the government made it clear it wanted four players, and since then merger speculation (particularly among suffering Sprint shareholders) has held that any new move wuold have to wait for a new administration.
- But what if the relationship could be rekindled earlier? Overtures toward wireless service from Comcast (CMCSA -0.6%), or other cable firms yet to express interest, could allow for a union between T-Mobile (TMUS +3.2%) and Sprint (S +2.8%) while maintaining the desired competitive players.
- Comcast started a process that would let it resell Verizon airwaves and acknowledged it was testing a service for a launch sometimes in the future. One catalyst could be a heavy bid into the March spectrum auction.
- "It seems clear that Sprint is playing for time, presumably to try again to merge with T-Mobile in 2017-18 under a new administration," says analyst Crag Moffett. "By then, Comcast will likely have bought spectrum in the TV broadcast auction, making it plausible to argue that a Sprint/T-Mobile combination can be called a five-to-four merger, not a four-to-three."
- Several outcomes are yet possible, though, and not all favor Sprint: Comcast could use an auction bid as a precursor for its own T-Mobile buyout; firms like Alphabet or Amazon.com could buy spectrum; or private investor Chamath Palihapitiya could succeed in an audacious plan to bid billions of dollars in the auction to create a new player called Rama.
- Previously: Comcast: Testing wireless service, but in no hurry to launch (Oct. 27 2015)
Dec. 4, 2015, 1:11 PM
- T-Mobile stock (NASDAQ:TMUS) is up with a strong market today, +1.8%, but it's down about 15% from the time of the company's Q3 earnings report, and Cowen & Co. attributes that to a "laundry list" of concerns hitting the stock.
- Cowen's Colby Synesael lowered the firm's price target for T-Mobile to $42; shares are currently trading at $35.19. The firm maintains an Outperform rating on the stock.
- T-Mobile is gaining subscribers, but not for free: Marketing costs have gone up with the company throwing out $200 incentives (in billing credit to Sprint customers who switch, or in discounts to high-end iPhones for AT&T's customers).
- The company's concerns include "issues with the quarter itself; recent pricing/promo actions by Sprint and itself; and, even more recently, anticipated 2016 EBITDA," Synesael says.
- "Investors will need to remain patient as it's not clear that the stock will make any notable run in front of the (auction)."
Dec. 3, 2015, 8:04 PM
- Another week brought more promotions (at least in holiday shopping season) for U.S. wireless carriers fighting for customers.
- Verizon (VZ -0.8%) today offered 2 GB of bonus data for new phones added or upgraded on its larger data buckets (XL or XXL, in the company's clothing-size parlance). The deal is good just through Jan. 6.
- The data's shareable with devices on the plan, but tablets/connected devices alone aren't eligible to be added/upgraded for the deal.
- Meanwhile, T-Mobile's (TMUS -3.3%) target of the day is AT&T (T -1.4%); it's offering those customers an iPhone bargain (128 GB model for the price of the 16 GB model) and half off financed in-store accessories (focused on speakers, headphones, smartwatches, fitness trackers).
- T-Mobile says the iPhone deal represents a $200 value, given back via bill credit. Its deal is available Dec. 4 through Dec. 13.
Dec. 2, 2015, 3:42 PM
- It won't be the most surprising development, but Moody's is forecasting that wireless price wars will prevent real expansion in industry margins in the coming year.
- The firm estimates revenues (including equipment) to grow 3-4% overall, but that EBITDA margins will expand about 1%.
- In a bid to steal customers from the top two -- AT&T (T -0.4%) and Verizon (VZ -1.4%) -- Sprint (S -2.1%) and T-Mobile (TMUS -0.9%) have been pushing aggressive promotions, from Sprint resurrecting a "cut your bill in half" idea to T-Mobile dangling $200 in front of Sprint switchers.
- AT&T won't be chasing customers this season, says Jefferies' Mike McCormack -- the company believes the subscriber base it's losing is coming from "mostly lower-value postpaid subscribers and prepaid," he says.
Dec. 1, 2015, 6:06 PM
- T-Mobile (TMUS +1.9%) has added 11 more (if smaller) music services to its Music Freedom free-streaming initiative.
- The carrier had launched that offering -- where it exempts streaming music services from counting against subscribers' data allocations -- last year, and it proved to be a precursor to T-Mobile's "Binge On" promotion treating video as also exempt.
- Joining Music Freedom today are Aud.io, StreamOn, L.A. station KCRW, and TuneIn Premium as well as genre-based services like SomaFM and Spinrilla.
- The additions bring the total to 44 streaming music services participating. T-Mobile says its customers now stream more than 196M songs daily, up 311% from the time Music Freedom was launched.
- Previously: FCC chairman: T-Mobile video initiative 'highly competitive' (Nov. 19 2015)
- Previously: T-Mobile's video 'binge': Partners, revenue effects, fretting net neutrality (Nov. 11 2015)
Nov. 25, 2015, 7:23 PM
- Wells Fargo has picked its winners in March's FCC broadcast incentive auction for wireless spectrum -- and it figures AT&T (T +0.2%) will dominate bidding that should total $30B-$35B.
- Analysts at the bank predict up to $10B spending coming from the telecom giant for a nationwide block of 2x10 MHz airwaves.
- T-Mobile (TMUS -3.7%) -- which has been signaling aggressive moves in the auction -- will be second, with $8B spent, the analysts said, while Verizon (VZ -0.6%) should be last with $5B in bids. Sprint (S -1.8%) has already said it's sitting this one out.
- While AT&T backtracked a bit on pledges to spend $9B while it was digesting DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), the analysts think the benefits of a nationwide block may signal higher spending from the company.
- Verizon, meanwhile, has credit to spend up to $10B, but probably won't: "Similar to what T has said publicly and based on our conversations with spectrum experts, we look for VZ to contribute in a meaningful way if 2x10MHz bands are made available."
- Previously: T-Mobile -2.2% as it pledges $200 for each Sprint line that switches (Nov. 25 2015)
- Previously: SoftBank spending: Arora on investment universe, Sprint worries (Nov. 24 2015)
Nov. 25, 2015, 10:20 AM
- It's been nearly straight down out of the open for T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS), down 2.2% after it announced a special "holiday gift" for Sprint (S -0.5%) customers: $200 to switch carriers.
- That's on top of the up to $650 T-Mobile is offering to cover early termination fees and phone payment balances, and it's $200 for each line switched.
- "I cannot think of any wireless customers in more desperate need of some holiday cheer than those Sprint customers still hanging on over there," said T-Mobile CEO John Legere. "Those poor people have put up with the nation's slowest and smallest LTE network, and their carrier throwing out a deal-of-the-month for everyone except them."
- The deal includes switching any Sprint number (postpaid, prepaid, Boost or Virgin Mobile) to a T-Mobile Simple Choice postpaid plan. It's effective starting Thursday.
- Legere promised additional "gifts" coming to Verizon and AT&T customers over the next few weeks.
Nov. 20, 2015, 7:50 PM
- Strategy Analytics is pointing to T-Mobile's (TMUS +1.9%) moves to steal more customers with its latest "Un-carrier" moves toward video streaming and bigger data buckets as likely to bear fruit in the holiday quarter.
- By exempting video streaming from its data caps, the carrier is making a big early entrance in the next big battleground for the big four, Nitesh Patel writes, with the plan "removing consumers’ concern about blowing their data allowance or incurring competitors’ huge overage fees."
- Meanwhile, don't overlook its network, says Strategy Analytics' Susan Welsh de Grimaldo; while Sprint talks up its network improvements, T-Mobile has made major improvements as it builds out 700 MHz spectrum.
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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