T-Mobile continues to add subscribers as first quarter earnings beat estimates


Angela Lang/CNET

T-Mobile topped analyst estimates for the first quarter of 2021, as the company continues to add subscribers and build out its 5G network. 

On Tuesday the nation’s second-largest carrier reported earnings per share of 74 cents on revenue of nearly $19.8 billion. Analysts, as polled by Yahoo Finance, were expecting earnings per share of 57 cents and revenue of $18.9 billion.  

The carrier added 1.4 million customers, with a postpaid net addition of 1.2 million. Of that postpaid group, 773,000 were phone subscribers. Postpaid customers, who pay at the end of the month, are valued more highly by the investment community as a key metric for wireless carrier success. 

The first-quarter results come after a strong close to 2020 for the company, which reported in February that it added 824,000 phone customers in the fourth quarter. T-Mobile now has 103.4 million customers, as it continues to grow following a busy year that also saw the company transition to Mike Sievert as CEO and the completion of its merger with Sprint

T-Mobile has been working to move customers from Sprint’s older network to its own. Last month it introduced new plans to help migrate Sprint users, and the carrier now says that nearly 50 percent of Sprint customer traffic has been moved to T-Mobile’s network, while roughly 20% of Sprint users have moved onto T-Mobile’s network. 

The carrier says that it now expects greater synergies from the merger, raising 2021 guidance to between $2.8 billion and $3.1 billion. The company previously expected synergies of $2.7 billion to $3.0 billion.  

In addition to providing the updated financials, T-Mobile says its “Extended Range” 5G low-band network now covers 295 million people, while its faster midband 5G offering (part of what it calls “Ultra Capacity 5G”) reaches 140 million people. The carrier has said that it plans to cover 200 million people with midband 5G by the end of 2021. 

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