T-Mobile Adds Subscribers as It Grows Wired Internet Business

The carrier closes its first quarter earnings with acquisitions and more customers.

David Lumb Mobile Reporter
David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
Expertise Smartphones | Smartwatches | Tablets | Telecom industry | Mobile semiconductors | Mobile gaming
David Lumb
3 min read
T-mobile logo on a phone
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T-Mobile continued growing its customer base in the first quarter of 2024, adding 1.2 million net customers across its phone and internet businesses in the immediate wake of a pair of acquisitions, the company said during its Q1 earnings call Thursday.

The first acquisition was the long-awaited $1.35 billion deal to purchase prepaid operator Mint Mobile, which the US Federal Communications Commission approved yesterday, finalizing a process that began a year ago when T-Mobile announced it. The carrier also announced yesterday that it has entered a joint venture with investment organization EQT to spend $950 million acquiring Lumos, a fiber internet provider, to get access to its network reaching 320,000 households on the US East Coast with wired and Wi-Fi service.

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The acquisitions expand T-Mobile's investment in two areas: prepaid phone subscriptions and wired internet, the latter of which the carrier had largely ceded to rivals Verizon and AT&T in the past. To wit, Verizon ended the first quarter with 7.2 million wired broadband subscribers, while AT&T ended the same period with over 8.5 million. To catch up, T-Mobile will invest another $500 million between 2027 and 2028 to expand the Lumos network to 3.5 million total households by the end of the latter year, the carrier said in a blog post.

During the earnings call, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert lauded the Lumos management team for its "years of experience building fiber in an efficient, cost-effective and targeted build model. We're really excited to be able to accelerate what Lumos has already been doing to reach more and more households in the years ahead."

This expansion came alongside more conventional growth in the categories T-Mobile has been traditionally competitive in, like mobile. The carrier added 532,000 postpaid net customers (down a slight 6,000 from the first quarter of 2023), a metric the industry uses to denote success and dependable revenue. During the call, the president of T-Mobile Consumer Group, Jon Freier, noted that though people are holding onto their phones for longer, leaving only around 2.4% of customers upgrading their devices over the quarter, they were leaving their subscriptions at the lowest rate in T-Mobile's history. 

"It's really kind of the best of both worlds when you have customers that are staying at incredible rates, record low rates, and not staying for free devices exclusively," Freier said. "They're staying for this differentiated value proposition, the network and the overall experience."

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Sievert added that 75% of postpaid customers had 5G phones and were thus able to experience the best the network had to offer without needing to upgrade. "So the impetus when you're having a fantastic experience on your phone, to prematurely swap it out, just isn't there," he said. 

The carrier reported losses of 48,000 prepaid net customers (inclusive of phone and internet) over the quarter, an overall 74,000 customer decrease compared with the 26,000 added in the same period last year. That's still lower than the 216,000 prepaid phone losses suffered by Verizon and 132,000 prepaid phone losses by AT&T.

Sievert acknowledged the continued growth of its fixed wireless access base despite sunsetting the promotions from the service's launch era by "attracting customers at our nominal price points." T-Mobile added 405,000 FWA customers, down from the 523,000 it added in the first quarter of 2023. The carrier ended this current period with 5.2 million total customers for its internet service.

T-Mobile reported $16.1 billion in revenue over the quarter, up 4% from the same period last year. This broke down to $2 earned per share, a 27% growth over the $1.58 per share in the first quarter of 2023.

Shares of T-Mobile slightly dropped, by 0.05%, by the end of the day.

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