T-Mobile sold 500,000 iPhones in its first month


A handout photo released by T-Mobile, shows T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere speaking at a news conference in New York, March 26, 2013. (GARY HE/INSIDER IMAGES/HANDOUT/EPA)

T-Mobile USA sold 500,000 iPhones in the past month, the carrier’s parent company Deutsche Telekom reported Wednesday, indicating that the April addition of the smartphone will be a boon.

Sales of the iPhone and the full effects of T-Mobile’s new “uncarrier” plans were not included in the first-quarter earnings report released by Deutsche Telekom, because they came after March 31.

But that didn’t stop T-Mobile from mentioning that good news along with its financials for the start of the year.

Deutsche Telekom said revenue at its T-Mobile unit declined 7 percent from the previous year — to $4.68 billion — but that it was able to stem customer losses and add subscribers to its ranks.

The company also anticipates better days to come for its T-Mobile unit with iPhone sales. The Apple smartphone has been a conspicuous gap in the company’s product portfolio. T-Mobile began offering the iPhone 5 on April 12, and the strong sales figures from the past four weeks indicate pent-up demand for the phone.

By way of comparison, Sprint reported in its latest earnings report that it sold 1.5 million iPhones — which includes figures for older iPhones — over the full three-month quarter.

Deutsche Telekom also indicated that T-Mobile’s subscriber numbers could keep ticking up. According to the company, customers have responded well to the major change T-Mobile made to the structure of its plans on March 26, just a few days before this quarter ended.

T-Mobile opted to separate users’ data and voice service charges from the cost of their device. The company asks users to pay for the full price of their phones, either upfront or with a down payment followed by up to 24 monthly installments. Users can pay off the full device at any time.

The company also ditched the idea of a traditional two-year service contract, instead asking consumers to sign up for wireless service on a month-to-month basis, thus eliminating termination fees for service plans — though consumers who still owe money on their devices when they terminate their T-Mobile service must pay off those fees.

T-Mobile, which merged with MetroPCS, has around 43 million subscribers.

Deustche Telekom, the German telecommunications company that owns T-Mobile USA, reported a 3.5 percent increase in first-quarter net profit to 564 million euros ($739 million) from 545 million euros in the same quarter a year ago. It also said revenue was down 4.5 percent totalling 13.7 billion euros, while adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell 4.3 percent totalling 4.29 billion euros.

Related stories:

T-Mobile, MetroPCS finish deal, ring NYSE bell

T-Mobile says it’s leaving ‘the carrier club’ with new pricing structure

T-Mobile plans: By the numbers

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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