T-Mobile profit nearly triples, adds 2.1 million customers

Legere on T-Mobile's Q4 Beat

T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) nearly tripled its profit in the fourth quarter as its "Binge On" video streaming service and lower-priced plans helped it add more than 2 million subscribers.

The No. 3 U.S. wireless provider said on Wednesday that net income jumped to $297 million, or 34 cents per share, in the quarter from $101 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier. This surpassed the average analyst estimate of earnings of 15 cents per share, and the company's shares rose more than 1 percent in morning trade.

Total revenue rose 1.1 percent to $8.25 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $8.20 billion.

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T-Mobile profit nearly triples, adds 2.1 million customers
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1. Nike

To lure customers from rivals Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), AT&T Inc (T.N) and Sprint Corp (S.N), T-Mobile has launched offers like data rollover and lower-priced phone leasing plans in recent months.

In November, the Bellevue, Washington-based company launched "Binge On," which allows customers to stream video from services such as Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), on their mobile devices without having it count against their data plans.

"We aren't just winning customers, we're keeping them too," Legere said on an earnings call.

"Contrary to the belief that most of the donation (of subscribers) in the industry is coming from Sprint, it's actually coming from AT&T," he added.

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T-Mobile added a net 2.1 million customers, including 1.3 million new monthly or postpaid customers in the three months ended Dec. 31. In 2016, it said it expects to add a net 2.4 million to 3.4 million postpaid customers, compared with the 4.5 million it added in 2015.

"Subscriber growth continues to be solid," MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett said in a research note.

The company's average revenue per postpaid user (ARPU) fell marginally to $48.05 in the fourth quarter from $48.26 a year earlier, beating the $46.97 forecast by analysts polled by market research firm FactSet StreetAccount.

"T-Mobile was the only operator to not disappoint on ARPU, the monthly phone payments of its customers," BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk said.

See photos of T-Mobile CEO John Legere:

T-Mobile - CEO John Legere
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T-Mobile profit nearly triples, adds 2.1 million customers
A T-Mobile US Inc. employee transfers data to a customer's new phone at a retail store in Torrance, California, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. T-Mobile US Inc. is scheduled to release earnings on Nov. 4. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A man uses a cell phone while walking past a T-Mobile US Inc. retail store in Redondo Beach, California, U.S., on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. T-Mobile US Inc. is scheduled to release earnings on Nov. 4. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12: Apple's iPhone 5 is advertised in the window of a Manhattan T-Mobile store on April 12, 2013 in New York City. Following years of waiting to sell the phone, T-Mobile will begin supporting and selling the iPhone 5 on its network starting on Friday. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 23: A T-Mobile store is seen at 7th Avenue and 49th Street on March 23, 2012 in New York City. T-Mobile USA announced they would be eliminating 1,900 call-center jobs in an effort to cut costs. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - APRIL 19: Pedestrians walk past a retail outlet for T-Mobile in New York City, on Friday, April 19, 2013.
BERLIN - JULY 24: Emblem T-Mobile. T-Mobile International AG is a holding company for Deutsche Telekom AG's various mobile communications subsidiaries outside Germany, July 24, 2013, Berlin, Germany
A T-Mobile retail store.
John Legere, chief executive officer of T-Mobile US Inc., pauses during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. T-Mobile US Inc. is allowing customers to roll over high-speed data allotments, in the fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier's latest marketing push to lure subscribers from Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
T-Mobile US Inc. signage is displayed in the window of a retail store in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. T-Mobile US Inc. is expected to release third quarter earnings figures on Oct. 27. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The company plans to invest up to $10 billion to buy low-frequency airwaves in a U.S. government auction starting March 29. In addition to rivals Verizon and AT&T, it will go up against with Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and Silicon Valley investment firm Social Capital that have filed to participate.

T-Mobile shares, which fell about 7 percent this year through Tuesday, were up 1.1 percent to $36.84 in morning trade.

(Reporting by Malathi Nayak in New York and Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian and W Simon)

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