Wed, Nov. 25, 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)
Wed, Nov. 25, 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.
Fri, Nov. 20, 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.
Fri, Nov. 13, 6:49 PM
- Along with a price hike for its unlimited wireless phone plans on Sunday, Verizon (VZ -1.3%) is bringing back activation fees, instituting a $20 charge for new lines of service.
- The carrier had waived the fees just a few months ago when it abandoned phone subsidies and service contracts; they were $40 at the time for customers who signed two-year deals.
- AT&T (T -1.1%) charges a $15 fee for devices sold through its installment program, or $45 for a two-year contract or purchased device.
- Verizon is raising the price of its unlimited data plan by $20/month on Sunday, a move in line with recent ones by its competitors. Sprint (S +0.7%) raised its own unlimited data plan by $10/month at the end of September.
- At least Verizon waited until after T-Mobile's (TMUS +2%) "Un-carrier X" event to drop the news; T-Mo's John Legere is fond of lambasting competitors for broad line activation charges, though every carrier has one somewhere.
Tue, Nov. 10, 2:49 PM
- At its 10th "Un-carrier" event, T-Mobile (TMUS -3.2%) is rolling out "Binge On" -- free video streaming without touching customers' high-speed data bucket.
- Red Bull in hand, CEO John Legere promised to "disrupt the scam" over data overage charges and overbuying. He said the streaming was open to any service that wanted to come, but named 24 initial partners, including Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Sling TV, Watch ESPN, Showtime and more.
- The company had heavily telegraphed that the announcement would target video, down to a Hollywood-ish magenta carpet that covering journalists walked down at the event
- The move does raise the specter of net neutrality enforcement, though Legere said "This is not a net neutrality problem ... the providers don't pay, the customers don't pay ... and you can shut it off. It's complete customer choice."
- The company also said it would double the data bucket in every plan. The move takes 1 GB, 3 GB and 5 GB plans to a default set of 2 GB, 6 GB and 10 GB respectively.
Tue, Oct. 27, 9:19 AM
- T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) is off 1.7% premarket after missing expectations with Q3 results despite more solid subscriber growth.
- The company swung to a profit with net income of $138M that came to $0.15/share and revenues of $7.85B missed by $440M despite growing nearly 7%. Service revenues were up 11% along with the customer growth. EBITDA of $1.9B grew 42% but missed an expected $1.93B.
- The company yet again raised guidance for subscribers after 2.3M net customer adds. It added 1.1M branded postpaid net subscribers (843K branded postpaid phone net adds), along with 595K branded prepaid net adds. Branded postpaid phone churn was down 18 basis points to 1.46%.
- It's guiding to add 3.8M-4.2M postpaid users for the full year, up from previous guidance for 3.4M-3.9M.
- As with other companies in the price war, branded postpaid average revenue per user was under pressure, falling 3.7% Y/Y to $47.99.
- Conference call to come at 10 a.m. ET (YouTube, webcast)
- Press Release
Tue, Oct. 20, 11:57 AM
- Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY +2.8%) is working with Credit Suisse on a possible sale of its Dutch unit, T-Mobile Netherlands, that could bring up to €5B ($5.7B), Bloomberg reports.
- That would be 7-8 times the unit's EBITDA, which last year was €630M on revenues of €1.55B.
- Deutsche Telekom gets more than two-thirds of revenues from Germany and the U.S., so a sale of its Dutch unit could bring funds to cut debt ahead of what could be an aggressive move for spectrum by T-Mobile U.S. (TMUS -1.2%) in the spring.
- In an acquisition-rich environment, bidders could include John Malone and Liberty Global (LBTYA -1.4%) as well as private equity. Liberty Global bought Belgium's Base from KPN for $1.4B in April.
Fri, Oct. 16, 10:33 AM
- A review of U.S. wireless operators has Nomura making AT&T (T +0.9%) and T-Mobile (TMUS +2.1%) its top picks, with a more subdued outlook on Verizon (VZ, flat) and Sprint (S -1.1%).
- The firm has Buy ratings on T and TMUS, and is Neutral on VZ and S.
- The companies' reactions to a modest growth future vary widely, says Jeffrey Kvaal. Verizon and AT&T are taking two radically different paths into video, while Sprint and T-Mobile go after share gain -- helped by the fact that the incumbents are unlikely to lower their prices.
- DirecTV synergies should more than offset some share loss at AT&T, and the firm faces modest video subscriber erosion, he says. Meanwhile, T-Mobile should be able to maintain share gains and EBITDA expansion with its aggressive approach.
- As for Verizon, "visibility beyond a sideways 2016 is limited," and Sprint continues to face a balance sheet strain though its improving network and pricing models have put it "on the brink of a true revival story."
- Price targets: For AT&T, $39 (closed yesterday at $33.49, 16.5% implied upside); for T-Mobile, $48 (closed yesterday at $39.94, 20% implied upside); for Verizon, $47 (closed yesterday at $44.67, 5% implied upside); for Sprint, $4 (closed yesterday at $4.27).
Fri, Oct. 16, 9:43 AM
- T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) is transferring its listing from the NYSE to Nasdaq effective after the close Oct. 26.
- Its symbol will continue to be TMUS for the common stock, and TMUSP for preferred stock.
- T-Mobile expects the move will be seamless for current shareholders.
- Shares are up 1.6% today; YTD the stock has appreciated 50.5%.
- Previously: T-Mobile in pole position as smaller carriers start bailing out of auction (Oct. 15 2015)
- Previously: T-Mobile brings back popular family-plan promotion (Oct. 14 2015)
Wed, Oct. 14, 3:04 PM
- T-Mobile (TMUS -1.6%) has brought back its 10 GB four-line family plan in what may be a harbinger of the wireless war heating up for the holidays.
- The plan -- $120/month for four lines, 10 GB of data -- is reminiscent of more aggressive plans ended this summer, from Verizon ($80 for 10 GB) and T-Mobile ($100 for 10 GB).
- Quieter AT&T (T -0.2%), meanwhile, "seems to be taking a more passive strategy, with a distinct focus on subscriber retention, ARPU (average revenue per user) preservation and setting the stage for growth and cross leverage opportunities as it integrates the DirecTV asset," says Barclays' Amir Rozwadowski.
- Including tablets, Rozwadowski is forecasting that Verizon (VZ -0.7%) will add 1.15M postpaid subscribers this quarter, followed by T-Mobile (1.07M), AT&T (300K) and Sprint (S -2.9%) with 270K.
- Verizon is first up among quarterly reporters next Tuesday.
Thu, Oct. 8, 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.
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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