Wells Fargo ups T-Mobile’s Q4 guidance following preliminary results

T-Mobile's Signature store in Times Square, NYC
A T-Mobile storefront in Times Square, New York. (T-Mobile)

Wells Fargo upped its guidance for T-Mobile’s fourth-quarter results after the carrier painted a rosy picture on its performance.

T-Mobile released preliminary fourth-quarter results Tuesday, confirming that it added more than 5 million net customers for a fourth straight year.

The nation’s third-largest mobile network operator saw 1.1 million net branded postpaid additions during the quarter, 891,000 of which were phone customers. It ended the year 3.6 million branded postpaid net customer additions, hitting the top of the range of 3.3 million to 3.6 million such subscribers.

“T-Mobile’s Q4 postpaid net adds (107,000 million) and postpaid phone adds 891,000) both beat our estimates, so we are modestly revising our Q4 revenue estimate upward to $10.91 billion (from $10.88 billion previously,” Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a research note. “We’re also revising upward our Q4 adjusted EBITDA ($2.53 billion vs. $2.51 billion previously) and core EBITDA $2.38 billion vs. $2.51 billion previously).”

Like other research firms, Wells Fargo believes T-Mobile will continue to gain share in a wireless market has essentially slowed to a crawl. That growth will continue to slow, however, compared to recent years that saw T-Mobile zoom past Sprint to become the country’s No. 3 mobile network operator.”

“Looking into 2018, we believe T-Mobile will be able to leverage its customer momentum and again lead the industry in postpaid customer adds, albeit at a slightly slower pace vs. 2017 due to smartphone market saturation and continued low churn from competitors.”

MoffettNathanson Research this week hailed T-Mobile’s revised fourth-quarter guidance, citing it as evidence the overall U.S. market is returning to health despite failed merger talks between Sprint and T-Mobile.

“This morning’s pre-released results painted an encouraging story of the four-player market. The results are broadly in line with our expectations … but that should be seen as good news,” Craig Moffett wrote in a note to investors. “T-Mobile’s continued subscriber growth, in the context of a relatively benign competitive backdrop, is broadly confirmatory of the view that the wireless market is getting healthier, not sicker.”