When the history of the Mobile Age is written, T-Mobile’s transformation into America’s Un-carrier – and the nation’s fastest growing wireless company – will mark a significant milestone. It was an absolutely amazing year of change.
However, history will have to wait. Because we’re not done yet. Our work in the US wireless industry has just begun. We started this journey with the intent to change an industry while we rebuilt this company. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Looking back at the Un-carrier’s first year, it’s important to keep in mind that the driving force behind this revolution is its simplicity. The most powerful case for the change that we began in 2013 is the clear need for what we’re doing. And this is reflected in consumers’ overwhelming response to our Un-carrier moves.
After all, the act that first sparked this revolution – and completely set T-Mobile apart from the competition – was that we listened to the customer. We listened. And that changed everything. What we heard demanded a response. It demanded that someone, anyone, stand up for the American wireless consumer and fight against the arrogance of an industry that had refused to evolve along with the amazing technologies that had already re-shaped how we work, live and play.
Every one of us has experienced the industry’s confusing rate plans, locked-down contracts, bill shock, unclear pricing, two-year upgrade wait times, and everything else. But it wasn’t until T-Mobile spoke up that consumers really started to recognize that they were being taken advantage of. And, once they were given a choice, consumers took action, the analysts nodded in agreement, and even the industry’s biggest fat cats were forced to sit up and react.
By now you know that the response from US consumers – and from the financial community – has been overwhelmingly positive. Americans get it. They’re in. And they’ve been signing on to this revolution by the millions. But none of this was an accident. It took planning, commitment and focus. To deliver results and force change, we concentrated on a few key things.
Embrace the Un-carrier Attitude.
Becoming the Un-carrier goes far beyond the brand. It is a belief and an attitude. It’s critical that our people live, breathe, eat and sleep the Un-carrier promise. Not only to deliver for the customer today, but to constantly question every unstated convention around how wireless will be bought, sold and experienced tomorrow. Every personal interaction with a customer happens through our frontline employees in stores, care and call centers – these people truly are the heart and soul of this revolution. They have to embody the Un-carrier attitude, and they do. They have to believe, and they do. Many of our most innovative and disruptive ideas come from the personal experiences and the unique insights of our amazing frontline employees.
Eliminate Customer Pain Points.
Our Un-carrier strategy is first and foremost about the customer. We advocate relentlessly on behalf of all wireless consumers. During 2013, that meant walking away from many outdated practices and standard operating procedures long held sacred. It’s one thing to advocate for change, it’s another to be the change. Every major innovation we’ve introduced this past year – from killing long-term service contracts and opaque pricing with Simple Choice™, to upgrading upgrades with JUMP!™, to making the world your network in 100+ countries at no extra charge with Simple Global™, to Un-leashing Tablets – was purpose-built to remove specific consumer pain points. We walked the talk.
Rapid LTE Deployment.
Throughout 2013, T-Mobile delivered on the Un-carrier promise. Our ability to be agile, execute quickly and make rapid adjustments allowed us to keep building momentum. This was a huge differentiator. One of our primary focus areas in 2013 was the development of a very solid network. This was mission critical to our success. We went from literally no 4G LTE to 209 million people covered in just over three quarters. We now have 4G LTE in 95 of the Top 100 metro areas in the US, and we have the fastest 4G LTE network in the nation, based on download speeds from millions of user-generated tests. Our people have performed with an incredible combination of grit and determination, and none of this could have been accomplished without phenomenal agility, precision and speed.
Throughout 2013, we focused relentlessly on changing marketplace perceptions of our T-Mobile brand, as well as our strategic position within the overall industry. We don’t have the size or deep pockets of our larger competitors, so we had to get creative in our marketing and communications. We’ve built an edgy, disruptive brand that’s highly differentiated in the US market. Our brand persona and voice are authentic and fresh. And we’re extremely disciplined about how, when and where we focus our marketing dollars. Key to our success during 2013 was our focus on new and emerging media that enabled us to build direct relationships with wireless consumers. We’ve leveraged a broad range of social media, where we’re not afraid to be aggressive and keep pushing the edge of the envelope.
Doing right by our customers and being an advocate for consumers translates into business results. We’re driving our business forward, growing our presence, having an impact in the marketplace, and creating value for you, our stockholders.
In terms of new customers, our success translated to over 4.4 million total net customer additions during 2013, not only returning this business to growth, but making T-Mobile the fastest growing wireless company in the nation. We saw immediate movement into positive growth following the launch of Un-carrier 1.0 in March 2013. And the good news kept coming. Branded postpaid was key to these results. In 2013, T-Mobile had branded postpaid net additions of over 2 million – a sea change for a company that had been hemorrhaging customers throughout the previous year.
And, thanks to a growing MetroPCS brand, branded prepaid was also strong. Between the time we closed the merger with MetroPCS and went public as the “new” T-Mobile on May 1, 2013, through the end of the year, we tripled the number of markets where MetroPCS operates from 15 to 45. This has been a significant contributor to our growth, and we’ve only begun to see the early results of this aggressive market expansion.
And, as we know, Wall Street has also shown confidence in our Un-carrier strategy. On May 1st, our first day as a new public company, TMUS stock opened at $16.25 per share. On December 31, 2013, TMUS closed at $33.64 per share, translating into a return of 107% for the year. Focus, planning and excellent execution by the Company drove our 2013 results.
2014 AND BEYOND
While we built a solid foundation and significant momentum in 2013, we’ve now come to the second phase of our transformation. Our task now is to sustain and grow the marketplace momentum we’ve created. And we‘ll tackle this by carrying all the attitude, agility and creativity we brought to 2013 forward into 2014 and beyond. We will work to continue our momentum, expand our LTE footprint, rapidly integrate MetroPCS and drive our ongoing cost transformation.
Thank you for your continued support and investment in this company and our mission to transform T-Mobile and change the way this industry does business. All of us here take great pride in building a company that creates great value for both our customers and our stockholders. We look forward to sharing our progress with you again next year and for years to come.
President & CEO
This letter includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the U.S. federal securities laws. Any statements made herein that are not statements of historical fact, including statements about T-Mobile US, Inc.'s plans, outlook, beliefs, opinion, projections, guidance, strategy, integration of MetroPCS, expected network modernization and other advancements, are forward-looking statements. Generally, forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as "anticipate," "expect," "suggests," "plan," "project," "believe," "intend," "estimates," "targets," "views," "may," "will," "forecast," and other similar expressions. The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made, are based on current assumptions and expectations, and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Important factors that could affect future results and cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements include, among others, the following: our ability to compete in the highly competitive U.S. wireless telecommunications industry; adverse conditions in the U.S. and international economies and markets; significant capital commitments and the capital expenditures required to effect our business plan; our ability to adapt to future changes in technology, enhance existing offerings, and introduce new offerings to address customers' changing demands; changes in legal and regulatory requirements, including any change or increase in restrictions on our ability to operate our network; our ability to successfully maintain and improve our network, and the possibility of incurring additional costs in doing so; major equipment failures; severe weather conditions or other force majeure events; and other risks described in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those described in our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 25, 2014. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We do not undertake to update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.