A look at wireless-industry financial reports

AP News
Posted: Apr 24, 2013 6:14 PM

Wireless companies have started to release their earnings reports for the latest quarter. Here is a summary of reports and related developments for selected wireless companies and what they reveal about their own and the industry's prospects.

— April 15: Dish Network Corp. offers $25.5 billion in cash and stock for Sprint Nextel Corp. in an attempt to snag the U.S. wireless carrier away from its Japanese suitor, Softbank Corp. If the Dish deal goes through, it would create a unique combination of pay-TV and wireless operator. Dish's hope is that it would lure customers with the promise of a TV service that they can take with them out of the house, on their phones.

— April 18: Verizon Communications Inc. says service revenues at Verizon Wireless, the country's largest cellphone carrier, rose 8.6 percent to $16.7 billion, accounting for more than half of overall revenue. At its closest rival AT&T Inc., wireless service revenue has been rising just over 4 percent per year. Verizon Wireless added a net 677,000 devices under contract during the quarter, meeting analyst expectations. Verizon ends the quarter with 93.2 million devices under contract. That is nearly one for every U.S. household.

— Tuesday: AT&T Inc. says it lost phone subscribers from its contract-based plans for the first time in the latest quarter, in a sign that growth in the industry is stalling now that most Americans have smartphones. The company says it added a net 296,000 devices to its contract-based plans in the first quarter, but the gain was due entirely to tablets, which carry lower monthly fees. Excluding tablets, the carrier lost a net 69,000 devices from its contract-based plans.

— Wednesday: Sprint Nextel Corp., the country's third-largest cellphone carrier, says it added just 12,000 customers to its Sprint brand in the quarter, and it would have lost 252,000 if it wasn't for Nextel customers moving over now that their network is being shut down. The number of new Sprint customers was the lowest for any quarter since 2009. There are just 1 million Nextel customers left, raising the question of what Sprint's subscriber trends will look like when they're gone.

MetroPCS Communications Inc., the country's fifth-largest cellphone carrier, says its shareholders have overwhelmingly approved the company's takeover by No. 4 T-Mobile USA. The deal is expected to be completed April 30.

Sprint and T-Mobile are delaying shipments of Samsung's latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S4. They cite inventory issues. Sprint says it still expects to sell the device over the Internet and by phone as scheduled starting Saturday, but retail stores and other distribution channels won't get them until later. T-Mobile had expected to start taking orders online on Wednesday. That's now expected to start Monday.

Coming up:

— May 8: T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG. The earnings cover the period before its combination with MetroPCS.