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T-Mobile may have led in Q4 postpaid adds, but AT&T laughed all the way to the bank

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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T-Mobile may have led in Q4 postpaid adds, but AT&T laughed all the way to the bank
T-Mobile's flamboyant CEO used the CES show in Las Vegas last week to give us a sneak peek into the company's past quarter results. Buoyed by aggressive iPhone and Samsung Galaxy promotions, T-Mobile had 1.2 million postpaid net adds, and low 1.28% churn rate.

The reason T-Mobile is boasting these numbers is because they are good, of course. According to Wells Fargo analysts, they are actually the best out of the big four US carriers. Verizon would have added 57,000 postpaid net phone customers, which is much better than predicted, and Sprint would have topped it off with 375,000 postpaid adds thanks to its $100-for-five-lines promo. The biggest slacker in Q4 in terms of postpaids would be AT&T, says Wells Fargo, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for the carrier. 

You see, AT&T works with the biggest margins in the industry, and is concentrating on high-end customers, so it's estimated to have a gross margin of more than 35% on revenue of about $19 billion in Q4. Its apparent strategy is that T-Mobile and the rest can have their barely paying customers, attracted by a barrage of promotions, subsidies and discounts, while AT&T makes bank with added services like DirecTV Now and others. We can only imagine what will happen if the Time Warner deal goes through.


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posted on 10 Jan 2017, 11:48 1

1. ctdog4748 (Posts: 796; Member since: 05 Mar 2016)


Reality time; T-mobile does cater mainly to the bargain seeker and lower income brackets. That's why in most articles about T-mobile coverage you'll have the usual suspects talk about how "good T-mobile is in my city and I don't give a damn if it works anywhere else!" because let's be honest, it's not like the typical T-mobile user travels much for work or gets on a plane to go anywhere.

posted on 10 Jan 2017, 12:34 2

2. WakaFlakaD (Posts: 522; Member since: 30 Apr 2011)


So, are you a bargain seeker? Do you just buy anything at retail when you fully know 100% that the item is much cheaper online? Will you put people who are smart with their money sit in the lower income bracket? What's wrong with being more budget friendly to everyone out there? I see people buy their fully unlocked iPhone from the Apple Store and just get a sim card at T-Mobile. People can afford paying full price for an iPhone and just use the service at T-Mobile. It's not like they cannot afford Verizon or AT&T, but you must wonder why they chose that route?!

I am curious, which carrier are you under right now? You act like you are speaking for every T-Mobile users right now. I personally work at T-Mobile retail, and one thing I get to hear constantly is... I am switching over because T-Mobile simply have the best international coverage that enable me to use my service for work in another country without paying anything extra. Hmm

My feeling is not hurt because of your comment, but you fail to see how much value T-Mobile brings to the consumers at the price they are providing. Consumers should be just happy about it because this company is serious about changing the industry and everyone can see it. It is NOT just for "bargain seekers" or for the "lower income brackets"

posted on 10 Jan 2017, 13:23 3

3. remixfa (Posts: 14594; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


your comment might have been true in 2010. Hasn't been true in quite some time

Hmm.. I hold 3 going on 4 degrees, work in a large hospital and retain decent service, travel the world.. planning 2 European continent trips this year, and travel up and down the US. And I'm extremely tech savvy.

The fact that when I go to Iceland, Italy, or another country and my phone works without extra fees or need to do anything is very freeing. In fact, the last time I did a 2000 mile road trip with multiple mountain crossings, I lost service for 15 minutes in the backwaters of georgia where only VZW had service from their Alltell buyout.

In fact, except for VZW, no one has better service than Tmobile in my city... and that's true for a lot of places now. The coverage maps are nearly identical for any populated area, large or small.

I have the latest devices, with generally the least amount of bloatware, a cheap bill, great service, free international travel and data, haven't had a traditional contract in ages, and no real issues.
Why should cell service cost as much as a car payment again?

posted on 10 Jan 2017, 16:10 1

4. Acdc1a (Posts: 333; Member since: 21 Jan 2016)


100%. I own a company, supply wireless devices to employees, travel stateside and internationally, and I use T-Mobile. My daughter herself uses 20+gb in data and I have no worries. While I could afford to go anywhere, T-Mobile not only costs less, it works better for my personal and business needs.

posted on 10 Jan 2017, 17:16 1

5. Quicksword_Phantom (Posts: 116; Member since: 15 Jun 2015)


I travel all the time to Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. A lower income bracket would not afford this travel. You're blatantly ignorant. I can more than afford Verizon and At&t but they don't have but 1 bar of 3g at my house in the city and congested as hell whereas Tmobile has the best coverage and speed here. Ctdog your ignorance and narcissism are on immense levels. Get a life and don't spew opinions and theories as facts. Tmobile is not a ghetto mvno.

posted on 10 Jan 2017, 17:55 1

6. Omarc07 (Posts: 479; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


haha most stupid coment ever ! um i have tmobile and i go to spain 3 times a year .And go to Mexico a lot . So i as other tmobile customers we get on planes. And plan trips. And i mean seriously try using At&t or Verizon on Europe . Nooo thanks . Tmobile is free. I used At&t last year came home to a 2,000 dollar phone bill. Never doing that mistake again. Btw in California , Vegas, Texas, Chicago and NY tmobile works fine. It sure as hell worked in all those places when i went. Just as good as At&t . As a matter of fact even better in some places tmobile has better and faster Lte.

posted on 10 Jan 2017, 19:02 1

7. Fernandito31 (Posts: 6; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)


But mostly the customers that on this year are jumping to t-mobile base on his numbers now are those with money (base on your comment) cause from the most part they're jumping in from the Big Red Verizon. I think this argument you're presenting was correct 4 years ago... T-Mobile is not cheap at all, basically their prices at hand by hand with Verizon & At&t, maybe you save like 5 or 10 dollars a month. They just give you more value, more things for what you paid for, like unlimited data and text and calls for 0.20 cents per minute in around 200 countries when you travel. So cheap t-mobile is no longer is. To get something cheap you will need to jump to cricket(own bt at&t), Metro PCS (own by t-mobile) etc.

posted on 11 Jan 2017, 07:17

9. Tobybear (Posts: 4; Member since: 29 Dec 2012)


Up until several years ago my wife and I used AT&T until we switched to prepaid, T-Mobile $30 5gb data 100 minutes, unlimited text for me, $40 Straight Talk on AT&Ts network 5gb data, unlimited text and minutes for her. We've noticed 0 loss of service, no matter where we travel from when we had AT&T. Despite spending half the price.

The strange thing is that most of our family and friends are super excited to hear about saving money, getting much more data, and getting the same service. Until they hear that we don't get "FREE" phones and have to spend some of the $840 we save each year on a phone if we want a new one. Even though that will easily pay for the latest Samsung or iPhone flagships and leave plenty change. And many people we talk to would be saving closer to $1200 a year.

Why would all these "rich" people people panic over potentially spending $200 - $600 on a new phone every few years. Especially when saving $840 - $1200 plus a year?

posted on 10 Jan 2017, 19:13 1

8. Fernandito31 (Posts: 6; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)


I see that and they see t-mobile like low budget company... 4 years ago absolutely yes. T-Mobie is no longer cheap and I'm not complaining. Price wise they're almost hand by hand with at&t and verizon maybe you save a $10, $20 a month?? Is just they give you more value for what you paid for. Maybe you switch from Verizon or at&T and you're paying $200 a month with 15 or 20 gb sharable with two lines and in t-mobile maybe you paid $195 including phones but you get unlimited data, unlimited international text and data without paying nothing extra and calls when you travel in a bunch of countries for just 20 cents per minute. Like you can travel to Canada and Mexico and use you're phone like if you're in USA without paying extra fees or roaming. Is more for what you said for... but cheap not anymore. and i will prefer to paid the same but receive more value for my money. Im a witness that they have improve the signal back in the day state of Connecticut was horrible with t-mobile 2g speeds etc. but today they got almost the whole state covered with 4gLte crazy fast speeds and signal and that change happen from late 2015 to 2016. i switch from Verizon and I'm not going back... I travel my bill hast being crazy and now that they will including taxes and fees... i will never look back....

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