First branded net customer additions since 2009; 1.9-percent churn lowest since 2008
T-Mobile has just released its Q1 2013 financial results, and there are some seriously positive numbers to reflect on for the previous quarter. While this doesn't include the recently closed MetroPCS merger, it does cover the time leading up to T-Mobile's dramatic "UNcarrier" rebranding. Let's hit some of the high points:
- Branded postpaid net loss of 199,000 customers, an improvement of 61-percent year-over-year
- Branded prepaid net gains of 202,000 customers
- 34 million total customers at the end of the quarter, up 576,000 quarter-over-quarter
- Branded postpaid churn of 1.9-percent, the lowest since Q2 2008
- EBITDA (explained below) of $1.2 billion, down 7.5-percent y-o-y but up 12.4-percent q-o-q
- Capital expenditures of $1.1 billion, primarily due to network enhancements
Q1 marked a few milestones for T-Mobile, with the first net branded customer addition in 4 years, and the lowest customer churn in 5 years. As has been the case for several quarters now, T-Mobile's decrease in postpaid customers and increase in prepaid customers has resulted in a negative slide in revenues. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), which shows how a company is performing on an operations-basis, was down 7.5-percent, as were overall revenues by 7-percent. ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) for postpaid customers was down by 6.3-percent to $54.07, but prepaid ARPU continues to increase every quarter, this time by 11.3-percent to $28.25.
As we have seen for several recent quarters now, T-Mobile continues to post strong prepaid numbers but also prepaid revenues per user, which isn't a terrible situation to be in. The carrier says that 36-percent of its customers have now chosen to move to either Value or Simple Choice plans, up from 30-percent last quarter. As it regularly does, the carrier has also taken its earnings release to reiterate its plans for LTE, which still include the current statistic of 7 full LTE markets and goal of getting LTE coverage to 200 million pops by the end of 2013. Things definitely seem to be looking positive, and we'll be expecting equally interesting results in the next few quarters as well.