T-Mobile raises forecast for subscriber additions on strength from bundled plans

T-Mobile logo is advertised on building sign in Los Angeles

By Harshita Mary Varghese

(Reuters) -T-Mobile US raised its annual forecast for growth in monthly bill-paying phone subscribers on Thursday, as more people take to its plans that bundle high-speed internet with access to streaming services.

The U.S. telecom carrier's offerings such as Go5G Next and Go5G Plus provide subscriptions for services such as Netflix and Apple TV+ and are among its most popular offerings.

"Over 60% of our new customers that come in are choosing those plans," Mike Katz, president of marketing, strategy and products, told Reuters.

"They are also the plans that are the most popular when existing customers are moving from their current rate plan to a new plan."

T-Mobile now expects to add 5.2 million to 5.6 million subscribers in 2024 compared with its previous forecast of 5 million to 5.5 million subscriber additions.

In a competitive market, T-Mobile's discounted plans have helped it attract customers looking for flexible offerings and made it a top pick of analysts as it gains shares from underpenetrated markets segments like rural and business.

The company added 532,000 monthly bill-paying phone subscribers in the first quarter, the highest among peers, compared with FactSet estimates of 477,500 additions.

"People are now starting to be more cost conscious and T-Mobile's disruptive punchy offers are resonating with home cable customers," said PP Foresight analyst Paolo Pescatore.

T-Mobile recorded its lowest ever first-quarter churn rate, which refers to the percentage of customers who stopped using the company's services, at 0.86%.

Revenue stood at $19.59 billion, slightly below analysts' estimates of $19.81 billion, according to LSEG data.

Its profit of $2 per share was also above estimates of $1.87.

Separately, the company said it expects to invest about $950 million for a 50% stake in a venture with Swedish investment firm EQT's fund that will buy fiber optic network provider Lumos.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday also gave a greenlight to T-Mobile's deal to buy Ka'ena Corp, the owner of budget service provider Mint Mobile.

(Reporting by Harshita Mary Varghese; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)