Fri, Mar. 27, 8:58 PM
- Glenn Lurie, CEO of AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), says he's not worried about the outcome if Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) -- third and fourth in the U.S. wireless market behind AT&T and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) -- decide to merge.
- "We are a very, very different company than the other three," he tells FierceWireless. "So whatever happens with them, I'm not really that concerned. I'm concerned about how we execute and how we operate."
- His No. 1 goal, Lurie says, is to reduce churn and preserve the company's current subscribers in order to upsell other services.
- Chatter continues to suggest that Sprint and T-Mobile may have to think about combining to achieve competitive scale, and in the meantime they're firing salvos in a price war that Lurie says AT&T won't join: "This industry is not commoditized at all."
- Previously: Goldman upgrades T-Mobile; DT reiterates merger wish (Jan. 20 2015)
Mon, Mar. 23, 4:34 PM
- In the wake of loud complaints from competitors about Dish Network's (NASDAQ:DISH) wireless spectrum bidding strategy -- using small-business partners to draw a 25% discount as "designated entities" -- the FCC is edging closer to reforming the process, Reuters reports.
- After being called to Congress and promising to "fix" the bidding rules, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is circulating a document to fellow commissioners to discuss specifics on how to reform the program.
- In particular, AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) complained of "distortion" in the bidding process created by Dish's practice of bidding through its DEs.
- While using DEs is common practice, the size of that auction meant that Dish saved billions via the 25% discount.
- The recent AWS-3 spectrum auction drew a record $45B -- but a "low-band" auction coming next year may be even more crucial to the industry competitors, as that spectrum is key to the ability to stretch wireless signal further into buildings.
- More on FCC auctions
Wed, Mar. 18, 2:20 PM
- At its latest "un-carrier" marketing event, T-Mobile (TMUS +0.6%) started taking the price war to business, pushing low-cost plans for small and medium businesses that are about half that of rivals AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
- The company is launching a plan that offers switching companies a rate of $15/line for 20-plus lines, featuring unlimited talk and text and 1 GB of data, upgradeable to unlimited data for $30. The price drops to $10/line for 1,000 or more.
- It's also picking up device costs (up to $650) for switchers.
- T-Mobile is the smallest of the big four wireless providers, but CEO John Legere says it's not making desperation moves: "This is not a diving, 'hail mary' pass for us -- we're growing like crazy," he says in Q&A. "This is logical, planned growth."
- IDC says T-Mobile increased its share in business services to 10% from 3% last year.
- Legere also pointed to the importance of the coming lowband spectrum auction: "That [recent AWS-3 auction] wasn't an important auction for us. The lowband is."
Tue, Mar. 17, 12:16 PM
- Sprint (S -1.8%) is launching its "Workplace-as-a-Service" connectivity solution, a product suite it says has "all the technology needed to run a business, offered on a predictable per-user, per-month basis."
- The comprehensive offering (including managed Wi-Fi, WAN connectivity and voice along with device management) is one of a few recent carrier moves toward Unified Communications.
- The service will start at $200 per user per month, and Sprint says it offers up to 50% savings based on its IT spending research.
- The move gets a one-day head-start on T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS), widely expected to use its event tomorrow to promote new business solutions.
- Previously: T-Mobile event may focus on business market (Mar. 09 2015)
Fri, Mar. 13, 5:57 PM
- More in a growing series of moves from America's No. 3 and No. 4 carriers to cut into the share of AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) ...
- T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) is offering selected customers a free upgrade to unlimited 4G LTE for the rest of 2015. The customers are getting a text link to a page describing their upgrade. However, those customers will lose their rollover Data Stash unless they opt out of the freebie.
- In a boundless push for customers, Sprint (NYSE:S), meanwhile, is upping the ante on its aggressive pricing by offering to pay all of a customer's costs to switch to them -- remaining phone installments, termination fees, regardless of the amount. The company is requiring that you turn in your current phone and a bill showing the charges due.
- Previously: With declining postpaid ARPU, Sprint eyes customer growth (Feb. 05 2015)
Wed, Mar. 11, 12:37 PM
- AT&T's (T -0.5%) Tuesday filing reiterating its guidance for 2015 demonstrates that competition continues to press the wireless industry, Citigroup's Michael Rollins notes in reiterating a Hold rating on AT&T stock.
- He pointed to Verizon CFO Fran Shammo's commentary about churn increasing into the new year to boost the argument that cost of capacity and competition will limit AT&T's upside in the coming year, though AT&T's churn isn't looking bad lately.
- Among the negatives: The continued migration of customers to no-subsidy Mobile Share Value plans will push wireless service revenue down around 4% Y/Y, and wireless margins will be affected.
- He likes T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) for those looking to get into the space, though.
Mon, Mar. 9, 1:15 PM
- After working on some aggressive price competition in the consumer market, T-Mobile's (NYSE:TMUS) planning a March 18 event that may be focusing on the business market.
- "This one's a real piece of work," says the company of its latest "Un-carrier" push. TmoNews is reporting a memo to staff suggesting the wireless carrier has been planning a new push for some months now and has "an even bigger growth opportunity directly in front ... Business!"
- It continues: “As broken as the industry was for consumers, it is even more broken for business customers ... the Un-carrier is coming!”
- Last quarter, the company gave Mike Katz the lead in its Business Markets team. (hat tip: FierceWireless)
Fri, Mar. 6, 8:07 PM
- More merger hints -- or maybe more than just hints, as T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) CFO Braxton Carter essentially nominates his firm as Dish Network's (NASDAQ:DISH) wireless partner, among some very kind words for Dish CEO Charlie Ergen.
- Ergen has done a "masterful job of creating a very differentiated mid-band spectrum position,” Carter said.
- “He’s not interested in building his own network and we would be a very good partner for deploying his spectrum."
- Ergen's had similar kind words for T-Mobile before -- in a summer 2013 earnings call, he said: "Certainly, T-Mobile ... you could put that together with Dish in a number of ways, including acquisition and merger, and that's probably not possible with the other wireless providers."
- He added then that he didn't think their options had changed "unless you just look at a full-blown acquisition or a merger and really, that's probably only T-Mobile at this point in time."
- Ergen's been more circumspect lately, but says video service will be "core" to any tie-up they engage in.
Thu, Mar. 5, 7:49 PM
- The WSJ reports Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) U.S. mobile phone service will initially feature just one phone - the mammoth Nexus 6 phablet, originally designed by Google and made by Lenovo's (OTCPK:LNVGY) Motorola Mobility unit. iPhone fans are out of luck, as are those who prefer more modestly-sized Android hardware.
- The paper adds the service might launch by month's end. As previously rumored, it will rely on Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile's (NYSE:TMUS) networks, along with Wi-Fi hotspots.
- For those curious, the Nexus 6 has a 6" quad-HD (2560x1440) OLED display, a 13MP rear camera with optical image stabilization, 4K video recording support, and a large f/2.0 aperture, and Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) high-end Snapdragon 805 processor (quad-core, 2.7GHz.). Naturally, it runs on an unmodified version of Android 5.0 (Lollipop).
- The report suggests Google will try to avoid ruffling the feathers of its U.S. carrier partners by limiting the amount of hardware supported by its phone service ... and that it will have it act as a showcase for what it thinks mobile services should be like (as suggested by Sundar Pichai) by offering the services through its favorite devices.
- Separately, Google has launched its long-rumored U.S. car insurance shopping site in California (more states will come later). Google asserts the site, known as Google Compare, can provide price quotes for various providers in "as little as 5 minutes."
- A U.K. version of Google Compare has been running for two years. Like rival car insurance shopping sites, Google will get a referral fee on sales; major insurers such as MetLife and Mercury Insurance are on board.
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)
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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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