A couple of months ago, I thought T-Mobile might have some messaging-to-the-masses issues despite its fresh (and much needed) thinking on multi-year contracts and subscribers.
And then, though they had lines out of the door in thousands of stores the day they introduced the iPhone and the new plans, I thought one should wait for the quarterly results to see if they had indeed succeeded with their new growth strategies.
And…boy, did they succeed!
Brian Chen writes, on The NYT, that the growth is here:
The company on Thursday said it had gained 1.1 million customers, including 685,000 contract subscribers, over its second quarter. That compares with losing 557,000 contract subscribers, the most valuable type of customer, in the same period a year ago. The uptick represents its largest customer growth in four years.
The company, based in Bellevue, Wash., only started offering the iPhone in April, when it also began offering new phone plans that address common frustrations with wireless companies, like confusing contracts and expensive data plans.
“By fixing the things that drive them mad, like contracts and upgrades, and freeing them from the two-year sentences imposed on them by our competitors, they are choosing the new T-Mobile in unprecedented numbers,” John Legere, the chief executive of T-Mobile US, said in a news release.
Over the last several years, T-Mobile lost many customers largely because it lacked the iPhone, and customers were unhappy with its service. But this year has been jam-packed with change for the company: it finally landed a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone, it began an overhaul of its network and it started offering lower-cost plans to lure customers from competitors. The company also has extra muscle from its merger with the smaller carrier MetroPCS, which was completed in May.
The change is costing T-Mobile. The company posted a loss of $16 million for the quarter, compared with a profit of $207 million last year in the same period. But it also reported revenue of $6.23 billion, up from $4.9 billion last year.
One quarter is just one quarter, and the big boys aren’t going to take defecting subscribers (to T-Mobile, or anyone else) lying down. Also, part of these gains could be ascribed to the iPhone’s availability, not just the new, better-for-consumers plans.
Still, time for me to set my unduly cautious tone aside and congratulate T-Mobile and their CEO on these terrific numbers!