In this segment from Motley Fool Money, the team considers the state of the wireless business in the U.S.
No. 1 player Verizon (NYSE:VZ) saw its number of subscribers shrink last quarter, and based on numbers from the past several years, it appears consumers are happily switching to the more competitive services of T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS), and to a lesser degree, Sprint.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on April 21, 2017.
Chris Hill: For the first time ever, Verizon reported a quarterly loss. David, I'm sure there are other things of note in their first quarter report but a loss?
David Kretzmann: Yeah. It was their first-ever quarterly decline of wireless subscribers. So, they're finally, I think, feeling some pressure from T-Mobile and Sprint. But I think T-Mobile deserves a lot of the credit here. T-Mobile has really been aggressively going after Verizon and AT&T. Since 2013, the number of wireless subscribers with T-Mobile has grown from 44 million to over 71 million today. Verizon has 145 million, so they're still in that lead position. But I think they might be getting a little bit complacent here, and I think there is room for T-Mobile to disrupt Verizon and continue to gain some share. There was a recent spectrum auction with the FCC, essentially, where companies like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile can bid on that spectrum from the FCC to grow their networks and grow the amount of data they can process and the speeds and so forth. T-Mobile spent nearly $8 billion for 45% of the available spectrum in that auction. AT&T did $900 million. Verizon didn't bid anything, they didn't bid for any of the available spectrum. For me, that signifies it. Maybe Verizon is a little bit complacent here. That leaves a lot of room for T-Mobile to boost the speed and capacity of their network. I like the position that T-Mobile is in. Over the past year, T-Mobile shares are up 61%, Verizon down 4%.
Hill: Is there a CEO in the public market that's more entertaining on Twitter than T-Mobile CEO John Legere? The way he just aggressively trolls, in particular, Verizon?
Kretzmann: Somehow he worked #verHIGHzon into one of his tweets going after Verizon CFO, he said, "Stop gouging your customers and start doing more for them! Seriously, how #verHIGHzon are you?!?"
Jason Moser: He actually sent that out on 4/20, too, right? April 20th? There you go.
Kretzmann: The man's brilliance just compounds.
Chris Hill has no position in any stocks mentioned. David Kretzmann owns shares of T-Mobile US and Twitter. Jason Moser owns shares of Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Twitter and Verizon Communications. The Motley Fool recommends T-Mobile US. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.