Fri, Apr. 10, 9:21 PM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) is working to match T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) by rolling out free international data roaming in 15 countries, a year after T-Mobile introduced a similar service.
- All Sprint customers can add the plan to their domestic plan for free, and they'll get unlimited texts and $0.20/minute calls in the 15 countries.
- Data speeds will be "up to 2G," though Sprint is selling data roaming passes that bump the speeds to 3G.
- T-Mobile offers 2G speeds as well, and says less than 1% of the 2M users so far have upgraded from there to higher speed roaming.
Fri, Apr. 10, 8:32 AM
- AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) have received the AWS-3 wireless spectrum licenses that they bid for in a record FCC auction, but -- with a complicated application that involved its use of designated entities as bidders -- Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) has not, yet.
- Dish spent the second-most in the auction ($13.3B gross bids, to AT&T's $18.2B), but its use of three DEs was criticized by competitors and Republican FCC commissioners alike, and it was missing from the agency's new list of 11 of 31 bidders whose bids were found to be complete and paid in full.
- Still, given time, Dish is expected to ultimately get confirmed for its spectrum, as challenges to its approach haven't found traction -- at least this year. The FCC is reviewing its rules for DE bidding in advance of 2016's low-band spectrum auction.
- "We ... still don't believe any restrictive or punitive action can take place on Dish's designated entities as a result of the AWS-3 auction," says Walter Piecyk of BTIG.
- Previous FCC auction news
Thu, Apr. 9, 7:58 PM
- T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) and Sprint (NYSE:S), along with Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), might fail in their bid to get a bigger set-aside in a crucial early-2016 auction of low-band wireless spectrum -- but what they get might be better than nothing, which is a risk if the auction's delayed, Guggenheim's Paul Gallant notes.
- The companies have argued for rule changes that would set aside 40 MHz of an expected 70-80 MHz for smaller firms (i.e.: not AT&T or Verizon), rather than the 30 MHz currently set aside. But that's an uphill battle, and "just holding the auction in early 2016 would be a very good development for them, because slipping into 2017 creates risk that the set-aside disappears completely," notes Gallant.
- AT&T and Verizon argue that Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY) and Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) have the resources to help Sprint and T-Mobile respectively with their bids, but the foreign firms don't appear to be willing.
- The FCC's AWS-3 auction set a record with nearly $45B in bids, but the low-band auction may be even more critical to the competitive landscape, as the signals travel over longer distances and through buildings' walls in cities.
- Previous FCC auction news
Tue, Apr. 7, 7:58 PM
- Based on momentum, analysts seem convinced that T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) will pass Sprint (NYSE:S) to become the No. 3 carrier in the U.S. -- though the question is exactly when that will happen: in upcoming Q1 results, or a bit later.
- If you believe T-Mobile CEO John Legere, it's already happened, since he thinks Sprint miscounts "dead" MVNO accounts.
- Nomura's Adal Ilkowitz is with him in thinking T-Mobile's already bigger based on Q1, and so is Jefferies' Mike McCormack, who believes T-Mobile grew by 2.15M subscribers in Q1, and Sprint by only 397K.
- MoffettNathanson's Craig Moffett thinks the pass will happen, but not until the end of May.
- The particular ranking is clearly a bigger deal to Legere and T-Mobile, as Sprint is likely heavily focused on a network buildout to increase speed, reach and reliability. Sprint's expected to detail its plans with its earnings report, due May 11.
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)
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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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