T-Mobile could lose 1.2M subs as AT&T acquisition drags on

T-Mobile USA may lose three times the number of contract subscribers this year as compared with 2010 while it waits for obstacles to AT&T's (NYSE:T) proposed $39 billion acquisition of the company to be overcome, according to a report from Bloomberg. The biggest obstacle is the Department of Justice's challenge of AT&T's acquisition. A trial date on the matter has been set for Feb. 13.

Six analysts queried by Bloomberg said that they think T-Mobile will see its contract customers decline by about 1.2 million compared with a decline of 390,000 the year before. That means T-Mobile could end up having just 25.2 million contract subscribers by year-end.

Craig Moffett, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., told Bloomberg that T-Mobile hasn't been able to stop customers from leaving because it is refraining from using aggressive price cuts to attract customers. In the past the company used that method. Bernstein said T-Mobile is probably not cutting prices because that might actually help the DoJ make its case for keeping T-Mobile independent because it enforces the operator's role as a price cutter.

In the second quarter T-Mobile lost a total of 50,000 net subscribers. The company reported postpaid net subscriber losses of 281,000 in the quarter, down from 471,000 net postpaid losses in the first quarter but a far cry from the 106,000 net postpaid additions it scored in the second quarter of 2010. 

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article

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