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More postpaid losses for T-Mobile; Q3 profits up slightly

Thu, 11/10/2011 - 2:49pm
Andrew Berg, Wireless Week

T-Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, continues to lose postpaid subscribers, according to its third-quarter earnings.

While the company reported net customer additions of 126,000, T-Mobile actually lost 186,000 postpaid customers in the third quarter of 2011, an improvement from 281,000 net contract customer losses in the second quarter of 2011, and worse than the 54,000 net contract losses in the third quarter of 2010.

The company attributed much of the 126,000 net additions to its prepaid offerings.

"Attractive prepaid offerings helped us add customers in the third quarter of 2011," said Philipp Humm, president and CEO of T-Mobile USA.

T-Mobile recently announced two new additions to its no-contract plans, including a $60-per-month unlimited talk, text and Web plan, throttled after 2 GB, and a new Wal-Mart-exclusive $30-per-month plan with unlimited Web and text, throttled after 5 GB, and 100 minutes of talk.

Prepaid net customer additions, including MVNO customers, were 312,000 in the third quarter, an improvement from 231,000 net prepaid customer additions in the second quarter of 2011 and 190,000 net prepaid customer additions in the third quarter of 2010.

Contract ARPU remained flat at $53, consistent with $53 in the second quarter of 2011 and up from $52 in the third quarter of 2010, attributed in part to data ARPU growth, which hit $14 this quarter, up 13 percent from $12.40 in the same quarter last year.

The company said 10.1 million customers were using 3G or HSPA+-enabled smartphones, which represents a net increase of 40 percent, or 2.9 million, from the third quarter of 2010.

T-Mobile reported total revenues of $5.2 billion, compared with $5.4 billion in the third quarter of 2010. The company saw a rise in profits to $332 million over the $320 million seen in the same quarter last year. The company said the results include expenses relating to the proposed merger with AT&T, which hit $51 million this year and $13 million a year ago.

Deutsche Telekom and AT&T continue to pursue the acquisition, with a trial date on the DOJ's complaint set for mid-February 2012. Deutsche Telekom still anticipates closing the transaction in the first half of 2012.

Shares of Deutsche Telekom were down just over a point to $11.83 in early morning trading.

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