T-Mobile continues growth with another earnings beat, now at 102.1 million users

The nation's second-largest wireless carrier has another good quarter.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G | Mobile networks | Wireless carriers | Phones | Tablets | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms | Mobile | Console gaming
Eli Blumenthal
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T-Mobile's growth streak continues, the company announced in its fourth-quarter earnings  report on Thursday. T-Mobile beat analyst estimates for both earnings per share and revenue while adding another 824,000 phone customers. 

The carrier posted earnings per share of 60 cents on revenues of $20.3 billion for the quarter. Analysts polled by Yahoo Finance had expected earnings per share of 51 cents with revenue of $19.93 billion. 

For the year, the carrier added 5.5 million postpaid net additions, of which 2.2 million were phone users. Postpaid customers, who pay at the end of the month, are valued more highly by the investment community as a key metric for success. 

"These results show that we're pulling way ahead of the pack on what matters -- overall 5G network performance -- and executing to stay ahead," T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert said in a statement. "And customers are noticing. 2020 was quite simply our best year yet, with our highest ever total postpaid net additions of 5.5 million."

The past year was a busy one for T-Mobile, which started off 2020 looking to wrap up its merger with Sprint . That deal closed in April, with Sievert then taking over the CEO role from John Legere, who initially was going to step down in May. In August the company became the second-largest US wireless carrier, thanks to the tie-up with Sprint, overtaking AT&T . The carrier says it now has 102.1 million customers. 

T-Mobile also continued to deploy and expand its 5G network on both the low-band and midband flavors. In its earnings release, the company touts that its low-band network (what it calls "Extended Range 5G") now covers 280 million people while its faster midband service (which it calls "Ultra Capacity 5G") reaches 106 million people. T-Mobile has said it plans to cover 200 million people with the faster version of 5G by the end of 2021. 

Whereas the low-band flavor offers speeds comparable to a good 4G LTE connection, the midband version utilizes spectrum acquired as part of the Sprint deal. T-Mobile says its "Ultra Capacity" 5G network is capable of average download speeds of 300Mbps with "peak speeds of up to 1Gbps" on 5G devices. 

The company is currently in the process of migrating Sprint users onto its T-Mobile network and says it's already moved 25% of Sprint postpaid traffic to its main service.