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T-Mobile US shares slipped early on Monday despite the wireless network reporting better than expected sales and profits for the fourth quarter.
Earnings per share rose to 45 cents from $10.18bn in revenue, eclipsing consensus forecasts for 29 cents a share on $9.84bn in revenue. Profits widened to $390m, from $297m a year ago.
The Washington-based company added 933,000 of the lucrative “postpaid” phone subscribers, who are billed on a recurring monthly basis, during the final three months of the year. The results reaffirmed T-Mobile’s success in stealing customers from larger players in the US telecoms market by slashing prices and offering eye-catching promotions.
So far this quarter Verizon, the largest US telecoms group by customers, has added 167,000 postpaid phone subscribers, while AT&T lost 67,000 and Sprint added 368,000.
In the three and a half year since T-Mobile declared it would become an “uncarrier”, ripping up monthly contracts and sparking a bruising industry price war, the company has cemented its status as the fastest-growing mobile network in the US. But in a sign that rival operators’ attempt to stop people from defecting with deep discounts are working, T-Mobile said on Tuesday that it expected to add between 2.4m and 3.4m net branded postpaid customers in 2017, a slowdown from the pace it recorded in previous years.
Shares fell 2 per cent in pre-market trading.
Shares in T-Mobile US have jumped more than 20 per cent this year on speculation that President Donald Trump’s administration will take a more lenient view towards consolidation in the telecoms industry, reigniting speculation of a long-rumoured deal with rival Sprint.
T-Mobile’s positive results come a day after shares tumbled across wireless network providers tumbled following an announcement from Verizon that it is reintroducing unlimited data plans, underscoring the cut throat competition in the US telecoms market.