T-Mobile US (TMUS) on Wednesday said it added more than 1 million postpaid phone subscribers in the December quarter, beating analyst estimates as well as topping similar numbers from Verizon Communications (VZ). T-Mobile stock fell a fraction to close at 67.72 on the stock market today.
Analysts expected T-Mobile to report 829,000 postpaid phone subscriber additions. In the year earlier period, T-Mobile added 891,000 postpaid phone customers.
Postpaid customers are a closely watched financial metric because they are billed monthly, spend more on data services, and disconnect services less often than pay-as-you-go customers.
Verizon stock popped nearly 3% on Tuesday after it also beat views on fourth-quarter subscribers. Verizon said it added 650,000 postpaid phone subscribers, up from 431,000 in the year-earlier period. Analysts had estimated 345,000 added subscribers.
Verizon, T-Mobile Q4 Beats Raise Questions On AT&T, Sprint
Analysts said the strong fourth-quarter performance by both Verizon and T-Mobile may raise questions over how AT&T (T) and Sprint (S) fared. Analysts estimate that AT&T added 211,000 postpaid phone customers in the fourth quarter, while Sprint lost 13,000.
T-Mobile, owned by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY), is seeking regulators’ approval to merge with Sprint.
One reason federal regulators could shoot down the T-Mobile and Sprint merger is that the deal would reduce the number of national wireless firms to three from four. Verizon and AT&T are the two biggest wireless firms. Japan-based SoftBank owns a majority stake in debt-laden Sprint.
T-Mobile stock is trading above its 50-day-moving average, a positive sign. T-Mobile has a technical buy point of 70.78, roughly 4% above its current price. Verizon stock slipped 1.3% to 57.05 on Wednesday.
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