MTS delivers solid Q1 but provides cautious outlook

Russian operator MTS saw revenues grow 9% in Q1 but believes the whole-year performance is likely to be flat.

MTS has delivered a financially solid Q1 with a total revenue of RUB 119.6 billion ($1.7 billion), up by 8.9% year-on-year. The company’s OIBDA grew by 1.6% to RUB 51.5 billion ($730 million), while net profit improved 0.8% to RUB 17.7 billion ($250 million) compared to the same period of 2019. The strongest growth comes out of its mobile and fixed telecom services, but about half of the top line growth comes from the adjacent businesses, including fintech, digital services, and retail.

“…this is an unprecedented time that is impacting billions of people around the world, including millions of our customers and thousands of our employees,” Alexey Kornya, MTS President and CEO, said during the earnings call. “Connectivity has never been more critical and we are proud to be helping our customers stay in touch with their friends and family as well as colleagues and classmates.

“Overall, I am deeply proud of the MTS team and would like to express my appreciation for their professionalism in this challenging environment. Looking ahead, I am cautiously hopeful for the future, and our strategic focus is clear: supporting our customers today while not losing sight of our goals for tomorrow.”

As Russia entered COVID-19 lockdown only at the end of March, its impact was not reflected in the Q1 results. However, MTS does provide a glimpse into the impact on April and the first half of May.

Similar to other operators that have witnessed during COVID-19, MTS has seen increased traffic but a big drop in retail with many shops are closed. Meanwhile, the operator has seen and expects increased digital activities, in communication, media, and in financial product consumption. In mobile, MTS has received the regulatory approval to implement self-registration SIM cards through an app.

“Looking ahead, we plan to prioritize this channel at the key level to lower subscriber acquisition cost,” said Inessa Galaktionova, First VP for Telecommunications. MTS is “also broadening our SIM-based infection tracking across all of our sales channels.”

“Now more than ever, consumers are shifting to digital-first banking from online customer service to virtual cards and contactless payments,” said Andrey Kamensky, VP for Finance, on the earnings call, suggesting there could be greater benefit for MTS.

Looking at the full-year expectations, MTS’s management is more cautious. Citing concerns including reduced number of retail outlets as well as the impact of lockdown on roaming income, the operator projects a 0% to 3% growth in total revenues and -2% to 0% OIBDA move, compared with 2019.

MTS is the latest of telecoms companies to show that the industry has withstood the uncertainties from COVID-19 well enough especially when it comes to coping with surging traffic, but it is certainly not immune to the impact. Factors ranging from reduced retail and roaming income due to lockdown to overall economic weakness are beyond the telecom operators’ control, but have or will have manifested on telecom operators’ quarterly and annual numbers.

Xiaomi grows in Q1, but Q2 is where the danger lies

Xiaomi has reported revenue and profit rises through to March 31, but let’s not forget this does not include the period of extensive lockdowns in European markets.

With total revenues coming in at roughly $7 billion, a year-on-year increase of 13.6%, profits grew by 10.6% to approximately $320 million. Considering the backdrop of COVID-19, this would be considered a healthy performance through the three-months, though investors will have to brace for the impact of societal lockdowns during April and May in Western Europe, a growth region to Xiaomi.

“Although the industry is facing severe challenges, the Group still experienced growth in all segments despite the market downturn, which fully reflects the flexibility, resilience and competitiveness of Xiaomi’s business model,” said Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun.

“We believe a crisis is the ultimate litmus test for a company’s value, business model and growth potential. As the impact of the pandemic starts to ease, we will continue to focus on the ‘5G + AIoT’ strategy and strengthen our scale of investment, in order to let everyone in the world enjoy a better life through innovative technology.”

Jun might be positive, but it is dampened success in comparison to previous quarters,

Xiaomi year-on-year financial performance for 2019
Period Revenue Profit
Q4 +27.1% +34.8%
Q3 +5.5% +20.3%
Q2 +20.2% +49.8%
Q1 +27.2% +34.7%

Source: Xiaomi corporate blog, Mi Global

Although there was a dip in performance during the third quarter, which could be attributed to a slowdown in smartphone shipments in its Chinese domestic market, Xiaomi is a company which has been on the rise. Success has been in the international markets primarily, and the executive team will hope the dampened success will only be temporary as the world begins to open-up again.

The issue is April and May, which will show up in the next quarterly earnings report. International revenues have been a significant driver for Xiaomi in recent years, and this quarter saw 50% of revenues attributed to the overseas markets.

Over the first three months of 2020, IDC attributed 31.2% of shipments in India to Xiaomi, while Canalys estimated Xiaomi’s smartphone shipments grew by 58.3% year-on-year in the European markets, accounting for 14.3% market share. In Italy, France and Germany it ranked it the top four smartphone manufacturers, while it claims to be number one in Spain. The growth numbers in LATAM, the Middle East and Africa were even more impressive.

Unfortunately, the majority of markets where Xiaomi is seeing success are the ones where lockdown has been severely impacting smartphone sales. In Europe, IDC said smartphone revenues could be down 10% optimistically, but worst case scenario could see sales slashed by as much as 47%.

Xiaomi has estimated that as of mid-May, the weekly number of smartphone activations in the European market had returned to over 90% of the average weekly level in January. Sales are gradually beginning to recover, but they are still not at the levels which would have been expected and more than half of this quarter has already passed. It is not a good sign, but these are certainly extenuating circumstances.

Investors have not exactly been thrilled with the news either. Xiaomi share price, on the Hong Kong stock exchange, is down 2% at the time of writing having started the day with a brief surge.

The saving grace for Xiaomi is diversification, however.

One business unit is leveraging the Xiaomi brand and existing customer base to drive sales in IoT and lifestyle products segment. The IOT platform now has 252 million connected IoT devices on it (not including smartphones and laptops), while there have also been progress in selling TVs, wireless earphones, electric scooters, robot vacuums and wifi routers. The business seems to be passionately and aggressively embracing diversification.

The second important area of diversification is Xiaomi’s internet services. With revenues of $830 million, a year-on-year increase of 38.6%, the division accounts for 11.6% of total revenues, up from 10.1% in Q4 2020 and 9.9% in Q3 2020. This division is slowly becoming more prominent but most importantly, this is recurring cash, the holy grail in the digital economy.

Xiaomi is another Chinese company which has been embraced by the international markets in recent years, a critical driver of revenue growth, but this progress might prove to be the source of great pain during the second period of 2020.

Lenovo earnings reveal the damage COVID-19 can inflict

With its main smartphone manufacturing sites situated in Wuhan, Lenovo has been hit hard by COVID-19, spoiling what would have otherwise been a very productive year.

Group revenues for Lenovo were down 1% to $50.7 billion, though it should be noted that revenues were down 10% year-on-year for the final three months, the period impacted by COVID-19. Across the first three quarters of 2019/20, the business was on the up as you can see below.

Financial performance of Lenovo 2019/20 (US Dollar ($), thousands)
Period Revenue Year-on-year Profit Year-on-year
Q4 10,579 (10%) 1,861 (2%)
Q3 14,103 0.5% 2,265 10.5%
Q2 13,522 1% 2,183 22%
Q1 12,512 5% 2,048 26%

Source: Lenovo Investor Relations

With the negatives of the final three months, growth figures were less than attractive, but without the impact of COVID-19 it has been a successful 12-month period.

“Amid one of the most significant periods of global change and transformation we have ever seen, Lenovo significantly transformed its business over the past year,” said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo CEO.

“I am also unbelievably proud of how we continue to respond to the global pandemic, as both a business and a corporate citizen. While the world continues to face uncertain times, I’m confident Lenovo will leverage its operational excellence and global footprint to continue implementing our intelligent transformation strategy and fully grasp the opportunities our ‘new norm’ provides us.”

Many companies have complained about supply chain issues and disruption to manufacturing operations during this period, but few faced the same complications as Lenovo.

2019/20 had been targeted as a breakthrough year for Lenovo in the mobile segment. During the third quarter results, Lenovo’s mobile business unit boasted of five consecutive period of profitability growth, as well as outperforming the LATAM market on smartphone shipments by 19 points. LATAM is an area Lenovo, through the Motorola brand, has been very successful.

The final quarter put an end to this successful streak as Wuhan, the starting point of the COVID-19 pandemic, is home to Lenovo’s smartphone manufacturing facilities. This was the most heavily impacted segment of the Lenovo business, however its data centre business also declined on softer demand, however PC’s outperformed the market, IOT grew significantly and smart infrastructure grew 37% year-on-year as Network Function Virtualization started to generate revenue.


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Telecom Italia wrestles with Europe’s biggest COVID-19 dent

Telecom Italia (TIM) has released its latest financial results, revealing painful battle scars as European nations continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

While it should come as little surprise when you look at which countries were most severely impacted by COVID-19, the figures have confirmed it. Telecom Italia is still profitable, which is often forgotten when companies miss expectations, but the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been very notable.

Total revenues for the three-month period to March 31 stood at €3.9 billion, down 11.3% year-on-year, while profits declined 10.8% year-on-year to €1.7 billion.

Financial results for European telcos through to March 31 (Euro (€), thousands)
Telco Revenue Year-on-year Profit Year-on-year
BT (£) 5,632 -4% 2,007 -2%
Telecom Italia 3,964 -11.3% 1,735 -10.8%
Orange 10,394 1% 2,602 0.5%
Telefonica 11,366 -5.1% 3,760 -11.8%
DT 19,943 2.3% 6,940 7.4%

Although it does look like business as usual at Deutsche Telekom, let’s not forget that as well as the country effectively combatting the coronavirus, the Group also contains T-Mobile US, which has been flying over the last few years. Total revenues in the US grew 0.3% to $11.1 billion over the quarter, while profits shot up 11.6% year-on-year to $3.6 billion.

What is worth noting is that it is not all bad news at Telecom Italia. This is a company which is under extraordinary pressure because of a truly unforeseeable event, but previous initiatives to create a healthier and more sustainable business are seemingly working. Improvement in cash generation (14% year-on-year increase) and debt reduction (down €923 million) have continued through the three-month period thanks to strategic initiatives launched in 2019. The underlying business model and strategy is still theoretically sound.

One of these projects, the network sharing agreement with INWIT and Vodafone, and subsequent sale of a stake in the towers joint venture, contributed €650 million to the debt reduction mission. Negotiations with KKR, for the sale of a minority share of the secondary fibre network, are continuing which will also reduce debt. It is not necessarily perfect scenario to be offloading assets, but needs must occasionally when pressure mounts on the spreadsheets.

It might be tempting to look at the surface figures, but it is always important to remember that COVID-19 is creating trading conditions no-one could foresee. TIM is still a business which is under threat from a highly competitive landscape in Italy, but the reaction from the team still looks competent.

Looking at the non-financial performance data, TIM Vision, the content platform saw a 20% increase in active users across the period, though mobile subscriptions dropped 579,000 year-on-year. IOT connections slightly compensated, but not enough. In fixed broadband, net customer losses across both consumer and wholesale totalled 233,000. It is clear the business is still adjusting to the new market dynamic with Iliad on the scene.

Segment Subscriptions Year-on-year
TIM Vision (TV) 1.85 million 21%
Mobile 20.42 million -2.8%
Fixed (retail) 8.98 million -1.5%
Fixed (wholesale) 8.01 million -0.6%

SoftBank fire sale could include T-Mobile US stake

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank had a nightmare quarter thanks to massive losses at its Vision Fund investment arm and it might need to raise a few yen quickly.

Most of SoftBank group is doing fine. Its Japanese operations, its stake in Alibaba and ARM have no worries, and it finally managed to complete the merger of its Sprint MNO with T-Mobile US. But boss Masayoshi Son just couldn’t resist getting funny ideas about investing in all kinds of other unrelated stuff and it turns out a lot of those bets were bad ones.

As warned a month ago, WeWork is the major bust in the portfolio, but the whole thing has taken a severe kicking thanks to the business world grinding to a halt coz of coronavirus. The quarterly presentation seemed to essentially amount to an extended apology to shareholders for losing so much of their cash on reckless punts, followed by a plea for them to stay the course to give his unicorns (very large private companies) a chance to fly over the Valley of Coronavirus, to the fertile pastures beyond.

Even if Son’s pleas are well received, SoftBank may well join many other companies in having to manage a cashflow crisis until things start to pick up again. For that reason it seems possible that it will flog some of its stake in new, improved TMUS to Deutsche Telekom in order to bolster its working capital. A WSJ report speculated that such a move would give DT the majority share in the company and relegate SoftBank to relatively silent partner. On current form, that might not be such a bad thing for all concerned.

Iliad revenue surges but device sales dampen the party

Disruptive French telco Iliad has reported 6.9% growth in consolidated revenues for the three months to March 31, but depressed device sales took some of the shine off.

While sales of fixed and mobile devices only brought in €45 million across the quarter, a 38.6% decrease in year-on-year sales would have bruised some egos. Reporting a 6.9% increase in consolidated revenues would certainly keep investors happy, but without the dent to device sales, Iliad executives would have been boasting about a 9.1% increase.

Still, few will complain with the performance of the business over the last three months, as share price increased 5.3% (12.30pm, May 12).

“All crises are revealing,” said CEO Thomas Reynaud. “And for our Group, this one has brought out the best in us, clearly showing the agility of our organization and the strength of our fundamentals.

“I have been particularly impressed by the commitment and drive of our employees who are working so hard to keep people connected. The crisis has strengthened the incredible spirit of solidarity which has always characterized Free.”

Iliad Group financial performance for three months to March 31 (Euro (€), millions)
Total Year-on-year
Consolidated revenues 1,382 6.9%
Service revenues 1,339 9.6%
Mobile ARPU 10.6 12.8%
Fixed ARPU 32 1.3%

Source: Iliad Investor Relations

As with many other telcos in Europe, Iliad is now searching for value outside its core competencies. This can be broken down to two main ventures, both of which are looking quite healthy.

Firstly, in pushing into the convergence business model in France with a FTTH proposition, Iliad is evolving to much more than a disruptive nuisance. The broadband network has now passed 15 million homes across France, adding 215,000 subscribers this quarter. The subscriber base now stands at 1.97 million, with the objective to have 4.5 million by the end of 2024.

The second venture is the launch of its own mobile network in Italy. This has proven to be a very successful bet, with Iliad providing plenty of disruption to the status quo. Revenues are growing in tough circumstances, while the team now has 5.8 million subscribers and market share of roughly 7.3%. The network currently has 2,936 active mobile sites, though this should be 5,000 by the end of the year and more than 10,000 by the end of 2024.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is currently having a limited impact on the financial performance of Iliad, the team has warned of the operational consequence and the knock-on effect this would have. Like most of the telecoms industry, COVID-19 is not having a material impact, but the longer the lockdown persists, the more difficult it becomes to realise new revenues promised by vast expenditure.

Vodafone bucks the trend to grow revenues and hold onto dividends

Growing revenues and profits while maintaining the dividend are three things which are not supposed to happen together amid COVID-19, but Vodafone has done it.

With Group revenues totalling €44.9 billion for the full-year to March 31, a 3% year-on-year increase, and profits swinging from a 2019 loss of €951 million to a 2020 gain of just over €4 billion, Vodafone has something to boast about. This of course does not reflect the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it does demonstrate the telco is navigating the turbulent times effectively.

“Vodafone has delivered a good financial performance – growing revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow – whilst building strong commercial momentum through the year and executing at pace on our strategic priorities,” said Group CEO Nick Read.

“We have also continued to invest in our fixed and mobile Gigabit network infrastructure and digital services, to provide faster speeds for our customers, as well as successfully managing the recent surges in demand. The services Vodafone provides are more important than ever and we are committed to playing a key role in society’s recovery to the new normal.”

Latest three-month performance of European telcos (Euro (€), millions)
Telco Total revenue Year-on-year Profit Year-on-year Dividend?
Vodafone 11,285 0.8% 45 2.6% Yes
Orange 10,394 1% 2,602 0.5% No
BT 6,419 (4%) 2,287 (1%) No
Telefonica 11,366 (5.1%) 3,760 (11.8%) Yes
Telia 2,110 (2.2%)* 684 (5.1%) Yes

*Like-for-lie comparison, excluding acquisitions

While Vodafone does look like one of the more solid telcos during this period of societal lockdown, reduced spending power might have an impact in the mid- to long-term.

“Vodafone’s relative resilience to the lock-down has provided short term relief, but most investors eyes are now focused on which stocks will perform best as the world progressively moves out of lock-down and life returns to a new normal,” said Dan Ridsdale, Global Head of TMT for Edison Investment Research.

“Vodafone’s stable revenue profile means that any impact is unlikely to be significant either way, but on balance, the longer-term impacts of reduced spending power and mobility are likely to be headwinds.”

Although Group revenues dipped below what was expected by analysts for the period (€45.4 billion), it does appear the markets are sympathetic to circumstance. In the hours following the release of the financial data, Vodafone share price increased almost 8% (10am, May 12).

European performance by market – full year
Market Total revenue Year-on-year
Germany 12,076 16.2%
Italy 5,529 (5.6%)
UK 6,484 3.3%
Spain 4,296 (7.9%)
Ireland 838 (1%)
Portugal 985 5.5%
Romania 734 16.8%
Greece 884 2.7%

Aside from a few markets where competition has been rocked by disruptive market entrants, the European business is holding steady. India is proving to be a significant issue, so much so it is becoming increasingly clear the team is attempting to cut their losses, though the group is in a relatively solid position.

Moving forward, the team is more readily embracing the convergence trends which are sweeping through the telecoms industry. The business can now claim 25 million broadband customers across the region, a number which will most likely grow as the acquisition of Liberty Global assets in Germany and Eastern Europe start to pay off.

Thanks to a mobile subscriber base of 64.4 million customers across Europe, Vodafone is in a position to ride out the turbulent COVID-19 crisis relatively unscathed, but it will be difficult to make any significant progress during this period.

5G has been launched in 97 cities, but with societies under lockdown taking this forward will be difficult. The UK business has claimed 751,000 broadband customers, but consumer appetite to switch is very low currently. The subscription-based television distribution business has over 22 million active customer subscriptions, but Netflix and Disney+ are the ones profiting from societal inactivity.

The framework is there for a convergence business model in some markets, though Vodafone is having to compromise by utilising third-party broadband infrastructure in others. There are certainly some interesting developments on hold here, but most will hope the period of enforced inactivity does not dampen the prospects of the business to much.

What we learned about Dish during the earnings call

With Dish executives leading the company’s quarterly earnings call, details of the plan to crack into the US mobile market were revealed.

The next few years are critical for the US telecoms industry but also the credibility of the FCC and the Department of Justice. Both of these authorities dismissed opposition to the T-Mobile US and Sprint merger, ignoring suggestions it would damage competition. Dish was the reason competition could be maintained, irreversibly changing the US telecoms industry, so it better succeed.

Fortunately, the is being fairly transparent about developments, or certainly more so than most telecoms executives are. But what did we learn from CEO Erik Carlson and Chairman Charlie Ergen last week?

Firstly, $10 billion should be enough to build a nationwide network.

This is a figure which has been banded around quite a lot in recent months without any in-depth explanation, but Ergen believes $10 billion should be enough to meet FCC regulatory requirements and go beyond to create a nationwide network which can compete. There might be a few unforeseen expenditures, spectrum auctions for example, but the team is standing by this estimation.

While the Boost business has not been officially closed yet, the team should have launched in one market by the end of the year, with its own independent core but leaning on the T-Mobile access network. This MVNO agreement will be running for seven years, but the team have already begun talks with tower companies to push forward to create its own network.

What is worth noting is that this work is running independent of the assets which can be purchased from the new T-Mobile company. EVP of Corporate Development Tom Cullen highlighted that deployment planning has begun but once the Boost deal closes, Dish will also have first refusal to acquire cell sites from T-Mobile which are deemed surplus to requirements thanks to the network rationalisation process between T-Mobile US and Sprint.

Although this is detail which some might not have expected, there are still quite a few questions remaining. That said, there is absolute clarity on one area in particular.

“We also took a $356 million impairment charge during the quarter, related primarily to our narrowband IoT build and our satellites D1 and T1,” said CFO Paul Orben. “Now that the T-Mobile/Sprint merger has closed and there is more clarity surrounding our revised build-out requirements. We no longer intend to finish our narrowband IoT build.”

NB-IOT has been struggling to live up to the expectation in numerous markets and this will not help matters. Dish is officially turning its back on NB-IOT, choosing to take an impairment charge on FCC commitments and turn attentions to a 5G network instead of completing the project.

While this might not be the most encouraging of signs, the embracement of OpenRAN and Mavenir as the company’s first official supplier is.

“Marc [Marc Rouanne – Chief Network Officer] continues to work on the architecture and further vendor selection,” said Ergen. “So I would anticipate more of those announcements in the third quarter. And then we’ll share our deployment plans once those are formalized likely on the next call.”

The dynamic of network suppliers is an interesting one for Dish. Ergen highlighted there was a desire to use Huawei equipment, which he described as “best in class”, though the team is being asked to find innovation in new ways. We also found out there is an active dialogue between Dish and Japan’s Rakuten to learn about OpenRAN deployments in the wild.

This is an area many will be keeping a close eye on, not only for validation of a technology which is still not the real deal, but also vendor appointments. The scale of this network, and the aggressive deployment schedule, could force OpenRAN start-ups to grow very quickly. Dish could be a major catalyst for growth for the lucky few who are selected.

It is of course early days, but there are some very interesting developments to keep an eye on here. The team might have opened the door slightly, but there is still much left to discover.

Will the team be able to deploy a network for $10 billion? How will it build its wholesale business unit? When will network slicing begun to be factored in? Which OpenRAN suppliers will be added to the roster over the next few months? Which markets will the postpaid products be launched in first?

With the next earnings call scheduled for July 30, the next three months could offer some very interesting announcements.

A look back at the biggest stories this week

Whether it’s important, depressing or just entertaining, the telecoms industry is always one which attracts attention.

Here are the stories we think are worth a second look at this week:


O2 and Virgin Media are merging to form BT-busting connectivity giant

Telefonica and Liberty Global have confirmed plans to merge UK operations, O2 and Virgin Media, to challenge the connectivity market leader BT.

Full story here.


privacyHalf of Americans approve of using smartphones to track infected individuals

Pew Research Center asked thousands of US adults what they thought about how personal data should be used to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full story here.


CSPs are being cut out of enterprise 5G projects – study

A new bit of research conducted by Omdia and BearingPoint//Beyond has found that only a small proportion of B2B 5G deals are being done by operators.

Full story here.


Streaming venture leads Disney to 29% revenue surge

The Walt Disney company has reported a 29% increase for year-on-year revenues thanks to its streaming bet, but COVID-19 has forced the team to withhold dividend payments.

Full story here.


Silver Lake pays a premium for a chunk of Jio Platforms

Private equity firm Silver Lake has shelled out $750 million for a 1.15% stake in the Indian telco, which represents a 12.5% premium on the price Facebook recently paid.

Full story here.


Online gaming seems coronavirus proof, but is it recession proof?

Online entertainment and gaming companies are seeing COVID-19 surges in revenues, but are these businesses in a position to resist the pressures of a global recession?

Full story here.

T-Mobile bags 452k subs as 5G starts to roll

An additional 452,000 branded postpaid subscriptions and churn of 0.86% should be enough to put a smile on the face of T-Mobile investors as share price soars 9%.

The majority of telcos might be scrapping and scraping against wider industry trends, but T-Mobile investors will be very pleased with how the business is progressing. Not only has the long-awaited merger with Sprint been formally approved, the financial spreadsheets are also proving to be a success.

“Just five weeks ago, we merged with Sprint to create the New T-Mobile, and we’re more excited today than ever before about the massive value creation opportunity and synergy potential that lies ahead,” said CEO Mike Sievert.

“We are off to the races laying the foundation for the future of the New T-Mobile as we work to execute on our business plan and harness the incredible opportunity ahead.”

T-Mobile financial results for period ending March 31 (USD ($), millions)
Total Year-on-year
Revenues 11,113 0.3%
Service revenues 8,713 5.3%
Net income 951 4.7%
Free cash 732 18.4%

Source: T-Mobile US Investor Relations

And while these are encouraging figures, the real fun is about to being. Sievert has the pleasure of integrating T-Mobile’s operations with Sprint’s.

Having been formally kicked-off on April 1, the two organisations will become one. This means scaled deployments, rationalising the retail footprint and pushing forward with 5G. The latter is perhaps the most interesting element, and the one which will give the best opportunity to close the gap on AT&T and Verizon.

In terms of a 5G offering, T-Mobile now looks to have the most complete proposition. It has access to mmWave spectrum for high-speed downloads, 600 MHz bands for coverage and, thanks to the Sprint merger, 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum to blend together speed and coverage. This is a 5G assault which ticks all the boxes which is currently in play in Philadelphia with New York next on the roadmap.

T-Mobile still lags behind AT&T and Verizon, but a carefully crafted and aggressive drive towards 5G could shift market dynamics very quickly.

Subscribers for US mobile network operators
Total subscribers 5G subscribers***
AT&T 176,510232 14,416,872
Verizon 182,554,002 16,560,150
T-Mobile and Sprint 114,359,944 18,560,447

*** Forecast by Omdia over the next twelve months