T-Mobile tops profit estimates amid more Sprint merger scrutiny

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Buoyed by record service revenue in the fourth quarter, earnings at T-Mobile on Thursday exceeded Wall Street estimates as the telecommunications firm ups its lobbying efforts to win federal approval for a $26.5 billion merger with Sprint.

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Revenue at the Bellevue, Wash.-based company was a record $11.4 billion in the period, up 6 percent year-over-year and beating analyst predictions. Profits were $640 million in the three months through December, or 75 cents a share, higher than the 69 cents that Wall Street anticipated.

T-Mobile added 7 million customers in 2018, a 24.4 percent growth over 2017 and its best year ever, according to CEO John Legere.

“T-Mobile is competing hard and winning customers - and we continue to deliver results beyond expectations,” he said in a statement.

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In 2019, the company expects to add as many as 3.6 million postpaid customers. It did not provide a full-year profit outlook.

T-Mobile's Legere and Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure will appear in front of both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Judiciary Committee in February to defend the deal between the nation's third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers, respectively.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
TMUST-MOBILE US INC73.34+1.03+1.42%
SSPRINT CORP.6.40+0.11+1.75%
VZVERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC.60.63+0.55+0.92%
TAT&T INC.31.39+0.62+2.01%

Sprint and T-Mobile argue a merger is necessary in order to compete against larger rivals Verizon and AT&T, and say the planned investments in fifth-generation wireless technology -- which promises broadband speeds without a hardwire connection -- will eventually lower costs for consumers.

The two companies are intensifying their lobbying as the Department of Justice and the Federal Communcations Commission continue to reveiw the transaction. Former Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn is advising T-Mobile on the deal -- after opposing AT&T's attempt to takeover the firm in 2011.

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And this week, both T-Mobile and Sprint pledged to keep prices stable for at least three years after the merger, a promise that critics say was “riddled with loopholes.”