T-Mobile US executives offered little in the way of concrete updates on the progress of a proposed merger with Sprint, but slammed analyst suggestions that the deal could be in danger.
The operator recently promised regulators it would not to raise prices for three years following the deal, a move New Street Research took as a sign the operators’ bid to woo regulators is failing.
During an earnings call, T-Mobile CEO John Legere blasted the assertion as “shameful,” adding discussions with US regulators are going “extremely well”.
“Most of what you see going on are very good indications of a dialogue that’s moving extremely well, and I look forward to a time when the full narrative can be public.”
COO Mike Sievert provided an update on T-Mobile’s TV effort, revealing plans to debut service in H1 2019 after an expected launch late in 2018 was derailed.
He explained the operator delayed its launch primarily to act on feedback from customers in its trial markets, who requested additional features. Sievert said the plan is to allow users to curate their “own media subscription in pieces, $5, $6, $7, $8 at a time” rather than offering a set bundle.
He added trials of a companion fixed wireless access home broadband product will begin in the opening half of the year, initially using LTE, with plans to upgrade to 5G at a later date.
Meanwhile, CTO Neville Ray said the operator’s 5G launch will take place during the back half of the year, when 600MHz-compatible handsets are expected to be available.
Sievert said T-Mobile has “big aspirations for incremental revenue from 5G,” as more customers select wireless “instead of other technologies for their connectivity,” citing opportunities in home broadband, enterprise and IoT.
T-Mobile posted record-high Q4 2018 service revenue of $8.2 billion, up 6 per cent year-on-year. Total revenue increased by the same percentage to a record-high $11.4 billion.
Net income of $640 million was down 76 per cent from $2.7 billion Q4 2017, when the company received a massive one-time boost from changes to the US tax code. Excluding the tax benefit, however, net income would have grown 21 per cent year-on-year.