yesMike MurphyNone
×

Get access to Protocol

I’ve already subscribed

Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

Earnings

T-Mobile earnings: Phoning it in

T-Mobile logo
T-Mobile
  • Q1 revenue: $11.1 billion (+0.3% YoY, vs. $11.4 billion expected)
  • Q1 earnings: $951 million (+5% YoY, above expectations)
  • Guidance: "The company is not in position to issue full-year guidance."

The big number: T-Mobile is doing more with less. Even with the costs of its merger with Sprint on the books during the quarter, net income was up about 5% over the same period last year, while revenue was only up about 0.3%.

People are talking: While most people in the U.S. have been stuck at home, T-Mobile's network has generally held up well. "While the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted, and will continue to adversely impact, T-Mobile's business and operating results, the company continues to work to ensure the health and safety of its employees, the ongoing reliability of its network, which continues to perform strongly and function with minimal interruptions, and the ability to serve and connect our customers," the company said in a release.

Opportunities: T-Mobile now has over 68.5 million customers, up from 64.7 million in the same quarter last year. And with the recent merger with Sprint, that's only likely to increase with more users able to sign up in more parts of the country. "We expect to be able to rapidly build the world's best 5G network, accelerating innovation and increasing competition in the U.S. wireless, video and broadband industries," the company said.

Threats: Beyond the merger, one of T-Mobile's biggest bets in recent years has been its massive investment in creating a 5G network. The question will be whether it'll win over (or retain) subscribers with its new network — especially during a recession, given that 5G handsets tend to be more expensive than their LTE counterparts. The company is pushing ahead with its 5G rollout, even with a large swathe of the country stuck inside.

Like others, T-Mobile said it has also lifted data caps and overage charges on many of its users during the pandemic. Will that source of revenue come back in the future when the dust has settled?

The power struggle: It may feel like a lifetime, but T-Mobile and Sprint completed their merger just five weeks ago. The two companies are still in the process of integrating their businesses — and networks. T-Mobile recently launched its first 5G sites using Sprint's spectrum in Philadelphia and New York, but still has many cities (and everything in between) left to go.

T-Mobile also said in its earnings that "more than 80% of Sprint postpaid customers have handsets that are compatible with the T-Mobile network today." That means around 20% of the customers it just acquired are likely going to need to be walked through the process of getting a compatible phone in the near future.

Microsoft wants to replace artists with AI

Better Zoom calls, simpler email attachments, smart iPhone cases and other patents from Big Tech.

Turning your stories into images.

Image: USPTO/Microsoft

Hello and welcome to 2021! The Big Tech patent roundup is back, after a short vacation and … all the things … that happened between the start of the year and now. It seems the tradition of tech companies filing weird and wonderful patents has carried into the new year; there are some real gems from the last few weeks. Microsoft is trying to outsource all creative endeavors to AI; Apple wants to make seat belts less annoying; and Amazon wants to cut down on some of the recyclable waste that its own success has inevitably created.

And remember: The big tech companies file all kinds of crazy patents for things, and though most never amount to anything, some end up defining the future.

Keep Reading Show less
Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

Politics

You may not know these tech Democrats. Now you need to.

These are the people who will be at the frontlines of the tech industry's efforts to influence an entirely new Washington.

Airbnb's Chris Lehane, Amazon's Jay Carney, Apple's Lisa Jackson and Uber's Tony West are tech Democrats you need to know now that Joe Biden is president-elect.

Image: Pupkin8r /Protocol

Now that Joe Biden has been elected to the presidency, it's time to update your contacts.

We're entering a new phase in Washington, and that means there are new power players who merit attention. Over the coming months, tech Democrats with ties to Bidenworld will help shape the future of the industry, one friendly phone call at a time.

Keep Reading Show less
Emily Birnbaum

Emily Birnbaum ( @birnbaum_e) is a tech policy reporter with Protocol. Her coverage focuses on the U.S. government's attempts to regulate one of the most powerful industries in the world, with a focus on antitrust, privacy and politics. Previously, she worked as a tech policy reporter with The Hill after spending several months as a breaking news reporter. She is a Bethesda, Maryland native and proud Kenyon College alumna.

Power

Quibi’s failure is a bad omen for T-Mobile’s video plans

The mobile carrier once heralded Quibi as "the next big thing" — and hasn't had much luck with other video initiatives, either.

Better days: T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert joined Quibi CEO Meg Whitman on stage at CES this year.

Photo: Janko Roettgers/Protocol

Quibi's shutdown announcement this week has been widely panned as the inevitable end of a service that never made much sense to begin with, much less during the pandemic. However, the company's demise is also a notable failure for T-Mobile, which was one of Quibi's biggest boosters, and even footed the bill for some of its customers as part of a "Quibi on Us" promotion.

"Quibi has been a strong partner with a unique mobile-first vision, and we're sorry to hear they will be winding down operations," a spokesperson told Protocol on Thursday. "Obviously, we will continue to monitor and ensure our customers with Quibi on Us are supported during this period and through any next steps needed."

Keep Reading Show less
Janko Roettgers

Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.

Power

Despite the pandemic, 5G still rolls on

COVID-19 has forced businesses to reevaluate their plans for the year and beyond. But investment in 5G hasn't slowed nearly as much as other technologies.

This is still happening, pandemic notwithstanding.

Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

If you'd gone to any tech trade show in 2019, or read any tech publication, you'd have expected 2020 to be the year that 5G really hit its stride. And a global pandemic notwithstanding, it appears that it still is.

The pandemic has kept millions of people at home and caused countless businesses to reevaluate their plans for the year, if not longer. But it's also prompting people to rely on their cell phones more than ever before — for shopping, ordering products and paying for things instead of using cash.

Keep Reading Show less
Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

Power

Pressure mounts on FCC to pay for low-income Americans to get online

Hundreds of advocacy groups are begging the FCC to expand its Lifeline program amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Millions of Americans who get internet and mobile phone access through a government subsidized program need more help right now, advocates say.

Photo: Premal Dhruv/Getty Images

Leonard Edwards has been trying to ration his phone's calling minutes and data plan as COVID-19 continues to spread. Edwards, a 59-year-old Marine veteran living in Washington, D.C., gets his phone package through Lifeline, a federal phone and internet service for low-income Americans. Ordinarily, to save on data, he checks his email at the charity where he works. Now that it's closed, his cell phone has become his only channel to his two children, his doctor and the outside world.

But despite his best efforts, over the weekend, Edwards says both his calling minutes and his data plan ran dry and weren't set to re-up until Friday. "You're talking about a week being blind. A lot is happening in a week," Edwards said. He was able to speak with Protocol by phone only after the nonprofit MediaJustice gave him money to top up his account. "This service is like life or death."

Keep Reading Show less
Issie Lapowsky
Issie Lapowsky (@issielapowsky) is a senior reporter at Protocol, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University’s Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing. Email Issie.
Latest Stories