T-Mobile has been going through some hard times lately. Profits have been down for months, a slow but steady flood of customers have fled the carrier, and the Sidekick Data Disaster certainly didn't help anything. The word on the street is that Deutsche Telekom, T-Mo's parent company, is considering rash action if the carrier can't pull things up out of the gutter soon. With the tough times they've had recently, T-Mo needs something good to report.
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Sadly, that 'something good' isn't going to be their Q3 2009 earnings report. Don't get me wrong, T-Mo isn't in free-fall, but they haven't yet managed to staunch the bleeding. While total revenues were $5.38 billion, up from $5.34 billion in Q2, their net income was only $417 million for this quarter. That's down a bit from $425 million in Q2, and down a lot from $445 million in Q3 2008.
Things weren't just tough in terms of money. T-Mobile is having trouble hanging onto their customers as well. In Q2 of 2009 they managed to bring in 325,000 new customers, net. But in Q3 they actually lost 77,000 net customers. T-Mo not only lost customers, their proportion of contract customers declined as well, down to 80%, compared to 81% last quarter and 83% in Q3 of 2008.
This quarter wasn't good, but I hesitate to describe it as catastrophic. Project Dark launched right at the end of this quarter, and we could see it lead to an increase in contract subscribers and revenue in the next quarter. T-Mo is also rumored to be launching a bevy of exciting new phones (including, possibly, the X10) which could help somewhat in their recovery. The carrier also managed to increase their 3G coverage by almost 50% in this quarter, a success that is definitely worth noting.
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So what does the future hold for T-Mo? Currently, that's very uncertain. I expect this next quarter to be a very important one. If they can show that Project Dark, their 3G improvements, and several new mobile releases lead to an increase in profits and a cessation of customer losses, they'll be able to breathe a sigh of relief. If not, we might just end up seeing Deutsche Telekom make good on those supposed threats.