January 6, 2023
T-Mobile US has hit the top-end of its recently-increased postpaid phone customer addition guidance for 2022 and, unsurprisingly, it’s very excited about it.
The telco is particularly upbeat about its performance compared with arch-rivals AT&T and Verizon, claiming industry-beating net adds in both the full year and the fourth quarter. It’s worth noting that the aforementioned telcos haven’t actually released any figures of their own yet – T-Mobile is relying on industry consensus expectations – but it’s unlikely to be far off.
T-Mobile’s own Q4 financials are not due out for a few weeks either, but why waste the opportunity to share some customer numbers in advance, particularly when you get to liberally pepper the announcement with expressions like ‘best in industry’ and ‘record high.’
In summary, T-Mobile says it experienced its highest growth year in company history for postpaid accounts – that’s accounts with multiple lines and so forth – postpaid customers, and broadband customers in 2022.
Specifically, it reported postpaid net account additions of 1.4 million, postpaid net customer additions of 6.4 million, and postpaid phone net customer additions of 3.1 million, all of which topped its rivals’ metrics, it said. We’ll be able to check that when all players post Q4s, although T-Mobile notes that AT&T does not typically share postpaid account net additions.
T-Mobile itself insists that the postpaid accounts figure is crucial. Indeed, company chief executive Mike Sievert describes it as “the best measure of our industry-leading growth in customer relationships.”
But those 6.4 million postpaid net customer additions are also noteworthy. T-Mobile repeatedly raised its guidance last year, culminating in a prediction of 6.2 million-6.4 million full-year net adds back in October, up from its previous target of 6 million-6.3 million. There’s doubtless some assiduously-planned releasing of guidance figures going on here, but nonetheless, T-Mobile is attracting it’s fair share of new customers… and then some.
Arguably the most telling figure the company published this week though was its churn. Postpaid phone churn for the full year came in at 0.88 percent, the lowest in company history, T-Mobile said, while also claiming to be the only operator to have improved that metric year-on-year. What that tells us is that T-Mobile is not only attracting new customers, but also retaining them, and that’s where it needs to be.
T-Mobile demonstrated during the course of 2022 that it no longer sees itself purely as a mobile operator. The telco made a big push into 5G-based fixed wireless, seeking to entice US consumers to churn from the established players to its own offer. And as unlikely as it may seem, it even allied itself to Verizon later in the year when it shared statistics designed to prove that FWA has what it takes to rival traditional fixed broadband services. There has also been talk of T-Mobile looking for a partner for a US$4 billion fibre business, but as yet there has been nothing firm on that score.
The fixed wireless drive has enabled T-Mobile to declare itself the fastest-growing home broadband provider in the US though. It added 2 million customers in 2022, including 524,000 net adds in Q4, and expects to be able to claim to be the industry leader for the fifth consecutive quarter. Further, it believes its full-year net adds exceed those racked up AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Charter combined.
All in all, that’s a solid set of figures, although naturally we’ll need to see its full financial report before making any kind of call on its overall performance. But CEO Sievert seems confident that the telco’s bottom line will match its customer growth.
“We are perfectly positioned to profitably take further market share in 2023 and beyond!” he declared, in typical T-Mobile style. And he also used the word ‘uncarrier’ in case anyone was wondering.
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