**Editor's Note: How does T-Mobile stack up to its rivals? Click here to see what we discovered.**
We knew that T-Mobile’s subscriber numbers for the first quarter of 2014 were looking good – but this came as a surprise.
The Bellevue, Wash.-based mobile operator said on Thursday that it added a whopping 1.3 million new customers in Q1, which was about 300,000 more than Wall Street analysts had been predicting. One million certainly would’ve been something to crow about, but 1.3 million is more new customers than AT&T and Verizon added during the period, combined.
It’s undeniable that America’s fourth-largest wireless operator is making big strides with its now year-old “uncarrier" position. T-Mobile dumped smartphone subsidies and two-year contracts for new customers last spring. It’s truly found a niche in the market among those wireless customers who want to sign up without a contract and don’t mind paying full price for smartphones – often in monthly installments – as an alternative to higher monthly bills.
T-Mobile can only hope financial success will soon follow. Despite the good subscriber news, the company posted a loss of $151 million in the quarter; that’s down from a profit of $107 million in the first quarter of 2013. Acquiring all of those new customers contributed to a lower average revenue per user (ARPU).
The big question now is if Sprint, the third-largest carrier, will make a bid for T-Mobile, something that’s been rumored for months. Bloomberg News reported this week that Sprint does indeed intends to move forward with plans to make an offer for the Magenta Network.
Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.