T-Mobile adds 1.7M customers, says it now expects Sprint merger to close in ‘early 2020’

T-Mobile CEO John Legere and his crystal ball. (GeekWire File Photo / Todd Bishop)

T-Mobile added a net total of more than 1.7 million customers in the third quarter, its 26th straight quarter with more than 1 million net additions, bringing its total to 84.2 million customers in its quest to catch its larger rivals ATT and Verizon.

The Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless carrier posted $11.1 billion in total revenue, up 2 percent, shy of the $11.3 billion expected by Wall Street analysts. However, the company’s profits of $870 million, up 9 percent, translated into earnings per share of $1.01, topping analyst expectations of 96 cents per share.

In an investor factbook summarizing the quarter, T-Mobile says it now expects that its merger with Sprint “will be permitted to close in early 2020.”

T-Mobile CEO John Legere reiterated that statement on a conference call with investors, saying that the company continues to be open to talks with state attorneys general to resolve the remaining legal hurdle keeping the Sprint merger from being finalized, and is having discussions with some of them.

T-Mobile net customer additions over the past five quarters. (T-Mobile Graphic)

The Federal Communications Commission this month joined the U.S. Department of Justice in approving the merger, which was originally announced in April 2018.

Although it has taken longer to close the deal than planned, Legere said, “the silver lining is that we have had more time to prepare for the coming integration.” He said the company has prepared “detailed integration plans,” including a strategy to deploy Sprint’s 2.5 Ghz wireless spectrum “soon after close,” a key part of T-Mobile’s plan to boost its network with Sprint’s wireless capacity.

Sprint and T-Mobile contend that the combination of the companies would position them to compete more aggressively against Verizon and ATT in the emerging market for 5G wireless services. Each of the two larger carriers currently has about twice as many wireless customers as T-Mobile does.

T-Mobile has said it plans to keep its Bellevue headquarters following the Sprint merger, and operate a second base in Overland Park, Kan., Sprint’s hometown.

Watch the live stream of the conference call below.

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