Mon, Mar. 2, 3:12 PM
- At Mobile World Congress, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) confirms its plans to offer wireless phone service "in the coming months" -- a small MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator, where it would offer branded services by piggybacking on a partner's network.
- The company says its entry will be modest and designed to showcase technological innovation, similar to what it does with its Nexus branded hardware, made by partners. But in a hotly competitive market, it could take share and have an impact on whichever competitors it doesn't align with (T, VZ, TMUS, S).
- Google hasn't named whose network it would ride on, but it has service-reseller deals with Sprint and T-Mobile.
- Besides its direct impact on the fortunes of competitors, which might be small, Google's move might spur innovation from them if it moves on a vision of better wireless connectivity.
- This afternoon: GOOG +2%.
Fri, Feb. 27, 4:45 PM
- Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has joined peers, including AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS), in complaining to the FCC that Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) distorted the results of the FCC's AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction with its bidding tactics.
- Verizon ran its own analysis of the data and concluded close coordination between Dish and its designated entities ((DEs)) that Verizon says created a false sense of demand and drove the price above market value.
- For its part, Dish has been on the record about disclosing and gaining approval for its actions ahead of the auction, though the resulting total bids came in over even the high estimates.
- Major players have been jockeying for position with the FCC ahead of a likely even more important low-band auction next year.
- More on the FCC auction
- Previously: AT&T: Dish's auction approach skewed results, needs restriction (Feb. 20 2015)
- Previously: T-Mobile's Legere calls for spectrum-auction rule changes (Feb. 18 2015)
Fri, Feb. 27, 9:19 AM
- Speaking at Deutsche Telekom's (OTCQX:DTEGY) capital markets day, T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) chief John Legere reiterated comments he made last week about the prospects of a wireless partnership with satellite company Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH): "Dish and we, that makes some sense."
- "It makes sense from the standpoint of integrating that spectrum and capability and deploying it at our network," Legere says of Dish's spectrum hoard. (Of course, he's been critical of Dish's auction bidding when it suited him.)
- Legere also says that facing rapid customer growth, T-Mobile has cut its margin target -- seeing margin on EBITDA of 32-34% in 2017, vs. its previous target of 34-36%.
- For his part, Dish's Charlie Ergen has had sweet talk for T-Mobile as well.
- Previously: T-Mobile's knockout Q4: Turning the profit corner; are they No. 3? (Feb. 19 2015)
Thu, Feb. 26, 12:43 PM
- Michael Rollins met with T-Mobile (TMUS +2%) management and says he learned catalysts that could provide 2016 upside in revenue and OIBDA, as Citigroup has upgraded the carrier to Buy, from Neutral.
- Citi raised its price target to $40 from $37. Shares are trading at $32.86.
- Rollins says T-Mobile can expand its addressable market as well as capture remaining synergies with MetroPCS, and that it might be a strategic partner to "multiple companies in multiple forms" over a key couple of years in the increasingly competitive wireless industry.
Mon, Feb. 23, 9:08 PM
- It hasn't gone unnoticed by Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) watchers that Chairman Charlie Ergen has retaken the chief-executive helm -- which has provided no end of speculation as to what Dish plans to do with all the wireless spectrum it's acquiring.
- Like Seinfeld, Ergen has noted, sometimes nothing happens and then the plan becomes clear -- suggesting that instead of cashing out assets or selling to a big rival, he may be ready to charge aggressively into wireless mobile competition.
- While many observers conclude that Dish is investing in valuable spectrum to sell it, Ergen has pursued both MetroPCS and Sprint before to get into the wireless phone business.
- Miriam Gottfried at the WSJ notes that in a mature industry, Dish is looking more like a spectrum holding company with a satellite TV business riding along.
- Ergen's still showing as few cards as possible: "I think virtually everything that somebody suggested on this call" are potentially options for Dish, he said in today's earnings call. He noted the outcome of mergers like Comcast/Time Warner and AT&T/DirecTV will help shape Dish's future.
- Deals are still on their radar: “We don’t have everything we need in terms of assets," he said during the call, with particular words of praise for T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS).
- Q4 earnings
- Previously: Citi: Dish spectrum hoard means stock is undervalued (Feb. 17 2015)
Mon, Feb. 23, 2:33 PM
- Google (GOOG -1.4%) has struck deals with Verizon (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T), and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) to have the Google Wallet payments app pre-installed on Android phones sold by the carriers, starting later this year. The Web giant is also "acquiring some exciting technology and intellectual property" from the carriers' Softcard payments JV, which never fully got off the ground.
- TechCrunch reported of Google's interest in Softcard last month. Thus far, Wallet's adoption has been hurt by limited support from carriers - Sprint was the only major U.S. backer - and retailers, as well as consumer reluctance to embrace NFC-based payments. However, the launch of (NFC-based) Apple Pay, along with the broader rollout of NFC-capable terminals and chip-and-PIN payment systems (they make card swipes a little less convenient) is altering the landscape.
- The deal comes a few days after top Android OEM Samsung announced it's buying LoopPay, creator of a mobile payments solution that works with standard card-swipe terminals.
- Mobile payments plays include NFC reader maker On Track Innovations (OTIV -5.7%) and payment-processing/telemetry services provider USA Technologies (USAT -2.7%).
Thu, Feb. 19, 9:02 PM
- T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) gained 2.7% today (and another 0.5% in late trading) following its strong Q4 report this morning.
- In the company's call today, CEO John Legere stretched like Armstrong to make a technical point that TMUS is actually the third-biggest U.S. carrier: He says most carriers stop counting "dead" MVNO accounts after 60-90 days, while Sprint (NYSE:S) waits six months. So Legere says Sprint is overcounting by 1.7M customers and is actually behind T-Mobile.
- CFO Braxton Carter tells the Financial Times that the company's guidance (on the low side of expectations) is "conservative" and expectations are high: "We are still taking major flow from the duopoly (T, VZ) ... We are very pleased with our first-quarter momentum."
- T-Mobile should take a Q1 hit in front-loading customer acquisition, but it expects free cash flow to turn positive at some point this year.
- Aside from record customer growth (fueled in part by aggressive promotion), the company pointed to highly watched synergies with its MetroPCS brand -- projecting to reach full run-rate synergies of at least $1.5B by 2016. Net present value there is expected to be $9B-10B, up from original $6B-7B projection.
- That's finally "kicking in," says Craig Moffett: "Synergies from the PCS deal, a key driver of our bull case, are coming in sooner and higher than expected" and that the firm "has at last turned the profitability corner."
- Related: T-Mobile US (TMUS) Q4 2014 Results - Earnings Call Transcript (Feb. 19 2015)
Thu, Feb. 19, 8:36 AM
- "We killed it," says T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) CEO John Legere of the company's Q4 earnings that rose 19.4% and swung from a Q3 loss.
- Adjusted EBITDA of $1.8B (up 41.3%) beat expectations of $1.62B.
- Customer growth: A record year culminated in 2.1M net subscriber adds (1.3M branded postpaid net adds, 1M branded postpaid phone net adds). The company says it captured nearly 80% of industry postpaid phone growth in Q4 and nearly 100% for the full year.
- For the full year, T-Mobile added 8.3M net customers to end with 55M total. (Total branded postpaid net adds in 2014 were 4.9M -- more than 4M phone net adds and 839K mobile broadband.)
- Branded postpaid average billings per user up 5.1% to record $61.80; branded postpaid phone ARPU of $48.26.
- The company guided to 2015 EBITDA of $6.8B-7.2B vs. an expected $7.22B, and targeted 2.2M-3.2M branded postpaid net customer adds. It expects 2015 cash capex of $4.4B-$4.7B.
- Conference call at 9 a.m. ET.
- Shares are up 3.2% premarket.
- Press release
Thu, Feb. 19, 6:11 AM
Wed, Feb. 18, 6:15 PM
- T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) chief John Legere takes to the blog to excoriate the FCC's recent AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction as a "disaster" for consumers (even if a success for the Treasury), and to call for revised rules in the future.
- Legere complains about AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), who'll use deep pockets to "corner the market on available spectrum at nearly any cost."
- He notes: "To add insult to injury, the FCC’s rules actually allowed companies that don’t provide wireless service at all to buy up huge amounts of spectrum and sit on it for ten years!" ... a sure shot at Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), who's also taken criticism for using affiliated investment entities to garner a 25% discount on their spectrum stockpiles.
- Legere says he's calling for action to avoid "epic failure" in next year's auction of low-band spectrum -- which will be highly contested and even more crucial to wireless companies' ability to reach further into buildings.
- He wants at least half the available low-band reserved for competitors who aren't the "Twin Bells" (the FCC will restrict AT&T and Verizon, though not as much as Legere would like) and wants to ensure spectrum is put to use and not "collected and traded like financial securities."
- Sprint (NYSE:S) mainly sat out the last auction but is sitting on spectrum that others may covet.
- More FCC auction news
Wed, Feb. 18, 11:14 AM
- In more details from 13Fs: John Paulson's Paulson & Co. closed its entire stake in Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) by Dec. 31.
- Paulson had a stake of 26.7M shares ($927.6M at today's price), which made up 3.65% of the fund's portfolio.
- The fund did add nearly 320K shares to its T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) stake.
- Paulson also added to stakes in Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), boosting that stake by 18%, and DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), adding 9% to that stake.
- VOD shares are down 2.1% today, and are now up just 1.6% YTD.
Tue, Feb. 10, 11:48 AM
- While Verizon (VZ +0.4%) and AT&T (T +0.6%) are still the big two competing over mobile network size/reliability, Sprint (S +1.2%) and T-Mobile (TMUS +1%) are competitive in metro areas, according to analysis firm RootMetrics.
- The company tested every mobile network by driving the equivalent of 100 U.S. coast-co-coast trips in the last half of 2014.
- Verizon won out overall and on network speed and data; AT&T came in second and won on text performance.
- Biggest problems for the sector's "other two": Reliability for T-Mobile; speed for Sprint.
- For their part: "It’s a very encouraging result for us," says Sprint network chief John Saw; "We believe the metro stuff is the most important," says T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray.
- "The good news is that our testing shows every network is getting better," says RootMetrics' Bill Moore.
Fri, Jan. 30, 1:14 PM
- Heavy volatility for Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), which has fluctuated from down 6.5% to its earlier -3.3%, following details of major bidder amounts in the FCC's record wireless spectrum auction.
- Dish reportedly bid $10B and their participation was heavily scrutinized -- especially for what it might mean, whether Dish was bidding to add spectrum or just push prices for rivals.
- The company was also tied to Verizon (NYSE:VZ), who might have an interest in Dish's existing similar spectrum assets, depending on its bidding here. The relatively lower spending by Verizon might mean hidden value in Dish's spectrum if Verizon takes an interest.
- Others: (T +0.8%); (VZ); (TMUS +0.4%)
Fri, Jan. 30, 1:06 PM| 4 Comments
Mon, Jan. 26, 1:57 AM
- Not only is Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) preparing a new cellphone service that will dial up pressure on the wireless industry’s business model, Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) is also prepping one.
- Google’s new package will hunt through cellular connections provided by Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) and WiFi "hot spots," picking whichever offers the best signal to route calls, texts and data, WSJ reports.
- Meanwhile, Cablevision will start offering Freewheel next month, a WiFi-only mobile-phone service.
- Such services pose a challenge to traditional telecom carriers, including AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
- Previously: Report: Google to sell phone plans via Sprint, T-Mobile (Jan. 21 2015)
- Previously: Analysis: Cable WiFi services to go mainstream (Oct. 06 2014)
Wed, Jan. 21, 4:09 PM
- Two day after reporting on Google's (GOOG +2.2%) SpaceX investment (confirmed a day later), The Information reports Google (GOOG +2.2%) is getting ready to "sell mobile phone plans directly to customers and manage their calls and mobile data over a cellular network."
- Google won't be building its own network, but will instead operate as an MVNO leveraging Sprint (S +5.8%) and T-Mobile's (TMUS +1.9%) networks. Deals for wholesale network access are reportedly on the way. Sprint and (to a lesser extent) T-Mobile have caught a bid on the report.
- Becoming a U.S. mobile carrier with Sprint/T-Mobile's help risks upsetting AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), who still tower over the local telecom landscape. However, it also gives Google a chance to experiment with novel/low-cost service plans, perhaps with the hope that other carriers (in the U.S. and elsewhere) will follow suit. Google also might be betting Android is too well-entrenched at this point for AT&T and/or Verizon to respond too harshly.
- Last April, The Information reported Google has discussed offering mobile services in Google Fiber markets. Q4 results arrive in eight days.
- Update: The WSJ is backing up The Information's report. It adds Sprint is "hedging its bet by putting a volume trigger into the [Google] contract that would allow the deal to be renegotiated if Google’s customer base swells."
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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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