T-Mobile US Reports Q4 2016 Results (Feb 14, 2017)

T-Mobile reported its Q4 results this morning – the last of the major US wireless carriers to do so – and as usual it’s beating all the others handily on postpaid phone subscriber growth and making decent progress on growing its margins. It added several times as many postpaid phone subscribers as any other carrier, but in other categories like tablets and “connected devices” (think cars, machine to machine, connected utility meters) others were ahead, with AT&T leading the market in both those categories. T-Mobile says it has seen much higher porting ratios (the ratio of subscribers won versus lost from a particular carrier) against Verizon this quarter, which would help explain the latter’s rapid shift in stance on unlimited plans. T-Mobile continues to be quite a bit smaller than the big two, and that’s a big driver of its lower margins, but the fact that it’s willing to take those lower margins enables it to win subscribers with aggressive pricing, especially since its network performance and coverage is constantly improving. I continue to be skeptical that T-Mobile’s strategy is sustainable over the long haul – it’s very focused on phones, which aren’t growing much anymore, and hasn’t invested as its two largest competitors have in newer growth categories, but for now it continues to capture lots of attention and make the other carriers look bad.

via T-Mobile (PDF release)

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