Yesterday, 3:13 PM
- AT&T (T +0.7%) and T-Mobile (TMUS -1.9%) have agreed to swap PCS and AWS-1 spectrum licenses around the U.S., according to FCC filings -- a move that should bring more service efficiency.
- The deal is pending FCC approval. Some major markets involved include Phoenix, Minneapolis, Boston, and Austin-San Antonio.
- The blocks are being swapped in identical amounts, so each carrier's total holdings will be unchanged -- but the ability to work in bigger contiguous blocks means greater efficiency for both, including a coveted 15+15 and 20+20 Wideband LTE offering that T-Mobile had hoped to provide.
Wed, Oct. 7, 4:06 PM
- A number of lawsuits are hitting T-Mobile (TMUS -0.6%) and Experian (OTCQX:EXPGY +1.9%) after a data breach at Experian exposed personal data of 15M people, including T-Mobile customers and applicants.
- At least five lawsuits against the two are seeking class-action status, and a sixth lawsuit is targeting only Experian.
- Intruders took data including names, addresses, contact numbers and social security numbers in the breach, which was revealed last Thursday, and T-Mobile said people who submitted credit applications from Sept. 1, 2013 to Sept. 16, 2015, were affected.
- One complaint notes the personal data is already for sale online.
Wed, Sep. 30, 5:15 PM
- Sprint (S +2.7%) is going to kick up the cost of its unlimited data plan, formerly $60/month, to $70/month, showing that unlimited data plans may be testing sustainability at the wireless carriers.
- That's still the best U.S. postpaid deal for that plan, and current customers will be grandfathered in at the $60/month rate. The price changes for new customers Oct. 16.
- T-Mobile (TMUS +0.6%) sells an unlimited data plan for $80/month, and AT&T (T +1.5%) and Verizon (VZ -0.1%) don't offer one.
- Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has alluded to the strain of unlimited data, as well as wishes to bump customers toward the tiered data plans.
- Earlier, Sprint pursued limiting video download speeds, but has removed such restrictions as customers pushed back.
Mon, Sep. 28, 7:55 PM
- Sprint (S -7.3%) confirmed that (as expected) it won't take part in the FCC's broadcast incentive auction for wireless spectrum next March -- a move that should suit T-Mobile's (NYSE:TMUS) John Legere just fine, as he's vocally argued for low-band access.
- "Sprint has the spectrum it needs to deploy its network architecture of the future," said CEO Marcelo Claure in his statement. The company's already densifying the network and pursuing techniques like carrier aggregation to unlock potential in its 2.5 GHz position.
- The auction, for prized low-band airwaves that will help with indoor penetration and rural areas, won't be cheap -- so skipping it should make a major difference to cash burn, a vital issue for Sprint.
- After an August run to $5.19, fueled by SoftBank's share purchases, shares are back under $4, at $3.98 (down 21.5% since Aug. 28).
- Previously: Sprint's Claure: Turnaround is taking hold with customer, network growth (Sep. 17 2015)
- Previously: Wells Fargo: T-Mobile, Sprint get edge with new iPhone financing approach (Sep. 10 2015)
Thu, Sep. 24, 3:04 PM
- Upping the iPhone ante with a day to go before the newest model's launch, Sprint (S +0.5%) has responded to a T-Mobile $5/month promotion by announcing a $1/month device plan.
- Friday's launch "is the day a lot of consumers choose who's going to be their carrier," says Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. "We wanted to make sure we have the best iPhone offer."
- The carrier, seeing "heatlhy" pre-order action, is offering a 16 GB iPhone 6s for $1/month with a trade-in of an iPhone 6 (last year's model). The rate goes to $5/month when getting an iPhone 6s Plus.
- T-Mobile (TMUS -1.6%) yesterday had offered $5/month and $10/month leases for the two models when trading in last year's iPhone or certain other late-model phones.
- Promotions for the new phone have seen a lot of action this month since Apple announced it was offering its own financing for unlocked iPhones.
- Previously: T-Mobile seeing heavy iPhone demand, pushing $5/month lease (Sep. 23 2015)
- Previously: Wells Fargo: T-Mobile, Sprint get edge with new iPhone financing approach (Sep. 10 2015)
Tue, Sep. 22, 12:46 PM
- Traffic checks of U.S. wireless carriers by Pacific Crest's Michael Bowen show slowness for the leaders and some momentum for challengers.
- Verizon (VZ -1%) was "slow" and AT&T (T -0.9%) "somewhat weak" in the past month heading into a key iPhone announcement. Verizon saw a lower amount of pre-orders for the iPhone and was coming off a data plan re-sizing; AT&T is lower-key about pushing phone upgrades, though tablet promotions are going well and customers are responding to DirecTV bundles.
- Meanwhile, promotions are bearing fruit at T-Mobile (TMUS -1.9%) and Sprint (S -1%). T-Mobile traffic was "strong," Bowen says, with employees optimistic about iPhone pre-orders and new financing plans. Meanwhile, most Sprint stores met or beat August goals and expect the same for September, as the "iPhone forever" leasing plan is showing strong demand.
Fri, Sep. 18, 5:43 PM
- Along with delivering expectations of strong customer growth, T-Mobile (TMUS -1.5%) CEO John Legere said the company would aggressively take part in the upcoming broadcast incentive spectrum auction.
- Legere also didn't disappoint when it came to talking down competitors, predicting failure for Verizon's (VZ -1.4%) freshly launching mobile video service.
- "I do think this Go90 could be the biggest debacle," he said at Goldman Sachs' Communacopia. "I mean it's right up there with the Amazon Fire phone, the Facebook phone, you remember that?"
- Another Legere trademark: Opining on consolidation that could include T-Mobile. "You really believe that the Comcast (CMCSA -1.8%) future in wireless is to be an MVNO with Verizon? I mean, give me a break. ... The timing of when the cable players come into the wireless phase — it's purely determined by who blinks first."
- Previously: T-Mobile up as Legere sees 'significant' Q3 customer growth (Sep. 18 2015)
- Previously: Verizon's McAdam: Earnings plateau in 2016, then off to races (Sep. 17 2015)
- Previously: Verizon rolling out Go90 video service in beta program (Sep. 08 2015)
Thu, Aug. 20, 6:02 PM
- T-Mobile (TMUS -2.7%) and Beatport -- the streaming electronic music service that's part of SFX Entertainment (NASDAQ:SFXE) -- have teamed up (again) on a hub exclusive to T-Mobile subscribers.
- The offering, called T-Mobile Backstage, features ticket giveaways and early-sale access and free music downloads montyly for those who are T-Mobile customers and registered Beatport users.
- The move is the latest in a few partnerships between Beatport and T-Mobile.
- Meanwhile, SFXE cratered again today, down 24.4%. The stock has lost more than 74% of its value in the past five days, in the wake of confirmation that a go-private deal with its CEO Robert Sillerman was off.
- SFX is pursuing an Oct. 2 deadline for sale interest, and Beatport is an attractive prospect for being parted out from the company's festival business.
- Previously: SFX Entertainment confirms go-private deal off, sets Oct. 2 deadline (Aug. 14 2015)
Tue, Aug. 18, 8:14 PM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) started the day strong and ended even stronger, +5.8%, in the wake of another share purchase by parent SoftBank.
- Sprint's also making a high-profile move away from contracts and phone sales, and analyst Craig Moffett -- known for being a skeptic on Sprint's cash burn performance -- said today the carrier's switch to a leasing model is "an accounting change, and unfortunately it is exaggerating revenue and EBITDA."
- He's got Sprint rated at Sell, with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile rated at Neutral.
- "From the consumer's perspective, this is all much ado about nothing," Moffett said of the lease model. "You used to pay about $20 more per month in your service plan in return for getting the phone; now you pay about $20/month for the phone itself."
- From the carrier's perspective, there's a huge difference in accounting, though, and "unfortunately, it has distorted the accounting for the whole sector. Because as you do the sale of phones, it accelerates revenue, and therefore accelerates EBITDA and earnings ... all the companies are now reporting inflated revenues ... and inflated profitability."
- Sprint's gone one step further, he says, by leasing the phones and "taking the cost of the phones off the income statement entirely, move it to the balance sheet and that further inflates earnings. So Sprint is getting 50% of its EBITDA right now from accounting changes."
- Meanwhile, CEO Marcelo Claure and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) CEO John Legere are mixing it up on Twitter again, this time arguing about a RootMetrics survey that put Sprint in third place in overall performance, ahead of T-Mobile.
- Previously: Sprint's Claure to T-Mobile's Legere: Tired of 'Uncarrier bullshit' (Jul. 02 2015)
Mon, Aug. 17, 4:53 PM
- Another brick falls from the contract-wireless wall, as Sprint (S +10.1%) CEO Marcelo Claure tells The Wall Street Journal that the carrier will do away with contracts and shift to a leased-smartphone model by year's end.
- Sprint introduced a lease option last year, and ending its subsidies means that leasing or upfront purchase will be the only ways to get a smartphone from the carrier.
- The move leaves AT&T (T +0.5%) as the only carrier of the U.S. big four that is still offering to subsidize a smartphone buy. Verizon (VZ +0.1%) made its major move earlier this month, and all are following in T-Mobile's (TMUS +1.9%) footsteps on dropping contracts.
- Earlier, Sprint rolled out its "iPhone Forever" plan that served as a precursor to the model: For $22/month over and above the usual monthly fees, customers can upgrade to the latest iPhone as soon as it becomes available, rather than once every two years. Claure says parent SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY -1%) will help it monetize traded-in phones.
Wed, Aug. 12, 11:07 AM
- Masayoshi Son's double-down on the future of Sprint (S -6.4%) came after he and another top executive at SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY), Nikesh Arora, floated the idea of selling the company to Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and to France's Altice (OTCPK:ATCEY) -- but getting no uptake, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- "I should go back to where I was focused," he says -- the Internet side of SoftBank -- though a long slog is ahead yet, if he's to turn around a company that hasn't turned an annual profit since 2006.
- Son was banking on a merger with T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) and calls his misjudgment of U.S. regulators "one of the biggest mistakes in my life." Now, the focus is on improving the carrier's network as hopes for restarting a merger push with T-Mobile are on hold until after the 2016 presidential election.
- Son appeared on Sprint's earnings call last week to reiterate excitement about the company's future under Marcelo Claure, who Son calls "my soul mate ... a street fighter sharing the underdog experience like myself."
- But fixing Sprint is turning out to be staggeringly expensive. Sprint doesn't have the money for a once-and-for-all fix, Son concedes, and SoftBank's covenants with banks prevent sinking more cash in.
- Ominously, SoftBank has recently invested $1B in a handful of South and Southeast Asian start-ups, and plans to invest more than $10B in India alone.
Thu, Aug. 6, 12:07 PM
- In a unanimous vote, the FCC denied T-Mobile's (NYSE:TMUS) request for a larger spectrum set-aside during the government's wireless airwaves auction next year.
- The carrier -- now the third-largest by customers in the U.S. -- had lobbied for a larger chunk of spectrum to be set aside for smaller carriers (i.e., not AT&T and Verizon) in the low-band auction, an area of the spectrum that the two giants dominate.
- There will be a set-aside, just not the 40 MHz that T-Mobile was seeking, in what is seen as a compromise by the FCC's Democrats after last year's vote to establish reserve spectrum.
- The FCC is working to keep the auction on track for the first quarter, and it's currently expected March 29. The agency is finalizing bidding procedures.
- Wireless Carriers today: T -1.3%; VZ -0.5%; TMUS -0.5%; S +2.4%.
Mon, Aug. 3, 6:25 PM
- ProShares is shuttering its UltraShort Telecommunications ETF (TLL -5.7%), the fund that bets against big telecoms like AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), due to lack of interest.
- The fund -- a double-short fund working on the inverse of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Telecommunications Index -- will close after the market on Sept. 14. Trading had slowed to about 100 shares on average.
- Top components of Dow Jones' telecom index that the fund bet against are AT&T, Verizon, SBA Communications (NASDAQ:SBAC), Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT), CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL), T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS), Frontier (NASDAQ:FTR) and Sprint (NYSE:S).
- TLL was down 7.6% over the past six months. The iShares U.S. Telecommunications ETF (NYSEARCA:IYZ) -- tracking the same index from the other direction -- is down 0.5% YTD.
Thu, Jul. 30, 3:22 PM
- On T-Mobile's (NYSE:TMUS) earnings call today, CEO John Legere expounded on consolidation and where he thinks technology is leading, signaling that he's still open to tie-ups: After all, he expects more players to get into wireless service, whether it's Dish Network with its spectrum haul, or Google with Project Fi, or even Comcast.
- "As the cable players use Wi-Fi as a capability to serve their subscribers ... you know that a player like a cable company and a player like T-Mobile [together] ... is better," Legere said. Customers will look at their accounts, and say "I have Comcast, and I have T-Mobile ... Why don't these guys do something together" to provide a seamless experience. Combinations like that are questions of "not if, but when," Legere said.
- He took time to tweak Sprint again, criticizing its new plan: "Sprint's $80 all-in plan is the return of contracts ... We will not be moving in that direction."
- With regard to video -- and particularly Verizon's upcoming Go90 mobile service -- he took a cautious stance and said T-Mobile would be in that area if customers wanted it. "If you interview 10 millennials in Times Square, how panting are they for Go90? ... Let's wait and see."
- That's another partnering opportunity, he said, looking forward into a world where content is moving to the Internet even as the Internet is going mobile: "Content to the Internet, Internet to the mobile devices, it's a potential opportunity for T-Mobile to partner, ally, merge with" other players.
- Shares are now up 5.3% this afternoon following the strong report.
- Previously: T-Mobile up 1.7% early after solid Q2 beat, raised customer guidance (Jul. 30 2015)
Thu, Jul. 30, 9:14 AM
- T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) is up 1.7% premarket after Q2 results where it beat profit expectations soundly while growing revenues and built up customers -- thanks to aggressive competition as it continues to trade profit margin for subscriber growth.
- The carrier raised its full-year projection for customer growth again, after adding a net 2.1M customers (1M postpaid). It now sees 2015 total branded mainstream adds of 3.4M-3.9M customers, up from a previous 3M-3.5M. Churn fell to 1.3%, from a year-ago 1.5%.
- Profts fell to $361M from a year-ago $391M, but swung from a $63M loss in Q1. Adjusted EBITDA of $1.8B (up 25%) beat an expected $1.767B. Service revenues of $6.1B were up 12% Y/Y.
- Of the 1M postpaid net adds, 760K were branded postpaid phone net adds, and the company again expects to capture all of the industry's postpaid phone growth.
- Branded postpaid phone ARPU was up 3.8% from Q1, to $48.19, mainly due to noncash net revenue deferrals for its Data Stash offering. That's down 2.3% Y/Y, though. Branded postpaid average billings per user was $63.29 (up 5.9%) and average revenue per account was $113.50 (up 6%). Meanwhile, branded prepaid ARPU was up 1.8% to $37.83.
- The company reiterated guidance for full-year EBITDA of $6.8B-$7.2B, in line with expectations, and for cash capex of $4.4B-$4.7B.
- Conference call to come at 11 a.m. ET.
- Press Release; Tables
Wed, Jul. 29, 1:07 PM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) is leading major U.S. telecom gainers for a second day, +5.9%, as it rolls out a new family plan in response to a family-plan price cut from T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS)
- Switchers to Sprint are being offered four lines with unlimited talk/text and 10 GB of high-speed data for $100/month, which it says will save families $480/year over Verizon's comparable plan, and $720/year over AT&T's.
- For data burners, Sprint says families can choose a 40 GB plan for $20 more per month. It continues to offer paying off old phones/contracts to enable switchers.
- Sprint's now up 12.2% over the past two days in coming off a 52-week low on Monday.
- Previously: Sprint and T-Mobile: Who's No. 3 (round two) (Jul. 28 2015)
- Previously: Sprint rebounds, +6.8% off 52-week lows (Jul. 28 2015)
- Previously: T-Mobile cuts price, increases data on family plans (Jul. 14 2015)
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T-Mobile US Inc provideswireless communication servicesin the postpaid, prepaid, and wholesale markets.The Company's products and services includevoice, messaging, data services,wireless devices, smartphones and other mobile communication devices.
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