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T-Mobile Widens Net Loss Despite Soaring Subscriber, Revenue Gains

Bellevue, Wash. — T-Mobile blew away the competition in signing up net new subscribers and boosting revenues in the first quarter, but the company also widened its net loss and swung to an operating loss.

The carrier posted 2.39 million net subscriber additions, marking the first-ever quarter of more than 2 million net adds for the company. The quarter was the fourth consecutive quarter with more than 1 million net adds.

 Total branded net adds soared to 1.79 million, with more than 1.3 million of them being branded postpaid net adds. Branded prepaid net adds hit 465,000.

Total net adds of 2.39 million accelerated from the previous quarter’s 1.65 million, the third quarter’s 1.02 million, the second quarter’s 1.13 million, and the year-ago quarter’s 579,000.

Total branded postpaid net adds of 1.79 million accelerated from the fourth quarter’s 981,000, the third quarter’s 672,000, the second quarter’s 678,000, and the year-ago quarter’s 3,000.

Citing the expansion of its LTE network and other network improvements, the company said its branded postpaid churn rate fell 1.5 percent from a year-ago 1.9 percent and a fourth-quarter 1.7 percent.

The company’s net loss grew to $151 million, marking the fourth consecutive net loss for the carrier following a $20 million net loss in the fourth quarter, a $36 million net loss on the third quarter, a $16 million net loss in the second quarter, and $107 million in net income in the year-ago quarter.

The carrier also posted its first operating loss in some time. The $28 million operating loss compares to a year-ago operating income of $379 million. In the second- through third quarters of last year, operating income ranged from $139 million to $297 million.

Total revenues rose 47 percent to $6.88 billion compared with the year-ago quarter. Revenues were also up sequentially from the fourth quarter’s $6.83 billion. The 47 percent year-over-year gain was due primarily to the inclusion of revenues from MetroPCS, which T-Mobile acquired, but on a pro forma combined basis, revenues were still up 15.3 percent compared with the year-ago $5.96 billion.

The carrier forecast that in 2014, it would gain 2.8 million to 3.3 million branded postpaid net adds, up from a previously forecast 2 million to 3 million.

At the end of the quarter, T-Mobile’s total subscriber base came to 49.1 million, up from a year-ago 34 million.