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Although 2013 saw huge subscriber growth for T-Mobile, most of its new customers were lured over by costly promotions like discounted plans, early upgrades and even paying for the cost of switching carriers. These moves have resulted in strong numbers for T-Mobile, which is proving to be worthwhile No. 4 player in the wireless market.
A strong T-Mobile means regulators might be more likely to disapprove of a merger with Sprint. America's third-largest carrier is said to be holding meetings, prepping a bid for the Magenta Network. If T-Mobile's newfound success doesn't hold up, a Sprint takeover might be more likely to get the green light, the Wall Street Journal noted.
Regulators have previously said they want to maintain the four national carrier structure; case in point, thumbing their noses at AT&T's attempt to buy T-Mobile in 2011. But a Sprint bid might be more feasible since the Overland Park, Kan.-based company is significantly smaller than AT&T.
T-Mobile added more subscribers in 2013 than Sprint and AT&T. But financially, T-Mo reported a loss of $20 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, more than double its $8 million dollar loss the year before.