updated 09:50 am EDT, Thu August 6, 2009
T-Mobile Q2 2009
T-Mobile's US division took a minor blow on Thursday with word of muted results for its just-finished spring quarter. The cell carrier's growth slowed to add just 325,000 total customers, less than half the gains of 668,000 a year ago. Its churn rate, or the number of old customers replaced with new ones, also climbed from 1.9 percent in spring 2008 to 2.2 percent today. Most of the shortfall is pinned on a higher number of subscription customers leaving T-Mobile and fewer signing on.
Results at the provider also showed smartphones like the Android-based G1, as well as 3G feature phones like the Samsung Memoir, doing little to turn around the company's performance. Although its data revenue shot upwards by 23 percent from year to year, its total revenue was down 1.6 percent to $4.77 billion and its average revenue per person fell from $52 to $48. The mix points to more of T-Mobile's customers using non-smartphone devices or scaling back their plans.
Such outcomes are potentially dangerous to T-Mobile, which at 33.5 million customers is less than half the size of rival AT&T's 79.6 million but grew at a disproportionately much slower pace. AT&T added almost four times more customers in spring; it simultaneously increased its average revenue per person and its data revenue while dropping its churn rate to half that of T-Mobile. A majority of this has been credited to the iPhone 3GS launch in June, which one-day sales records for AT&T and likely helped offset drops in new customers or revenue.
For its summer quarter between August and October, T-Mobile is placing most of its faith in the myTouch 3G its new "halo" Android phone, and expanding into more retail areas through a recent deal with Radio Shack.