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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 8, 2013 at 4:35 PM

T-Mobile reports smaller profit, more customers, layoff costs

T-Mobile US today provided its first earnings report as a publicly traded company, noting smaller profits and a modest gain in customers during the first quarter.

The company, which recently completed a merger with Dallas-based MetroPCS, also noted that it’s spending $60 million this year on costs related to recent layoffs at its Bellevue headquarters.

Sales fell 7 percent from the past year, but the company slowed the hemorrhaging of customers. It ended the quarter with 34 million subscribers, up about 2 percent from the same period last year. That includes a net increase of 3,000 customers to T-Mobile branded services, the first gain of such customers since the first quarter of 2009.

The company had sales of $4.67 billion in the quarter ending March 31, down from $5 billion during the same period last year. Net profit was $107 million, or 37 cents per share, down from $200 million, or 68 cents per share, the year before.

T-Mobile’s press release announcing the earnings highlighted sales of the iPhone 5, which it began carrying after the quarter ended.

“Our first quarter operating metrics and financial results are showing positive impact from the changes we began making in the fourth quarter,” Chief Executive John Legere said in the release.

The report did not disclose how many people T-Mobile now employs, providing no additional detail on layoffs that occurred just before the MetroPCS merger was finalized on April 30. About 400 people lost their jobs, mostly at the Bellevue headquarters.

T-Mobile noted that it spent $31 million on personnel-related restructuring costs such as severance payments during the quarter.

Personnel-related restructuring costs are expected to nearly double, rising to a total of $60 million through 2013, according to the company’s 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. But that does not signal that additional layoffs are coming, spokeswoman Anne Marshall said.

“There’s no new actions that are in the 8-K – it’s just a matter of timing and accounting,” Marshall said.

Since T-Mobile began carrying the iPhone 5 on April 12, it has sold around 500,000 units. For comparison Apple sold 37.4 million iPhones during the first quarter, though it’s not clear how many were iPhone 5s or older models.

T-Mobile’s earnings report piggybacked on the earnings report of Deutsche Telekom, its majority shareholder, similar to the way its earnings were disclosed prior to being publicly listed after the merger with MetroPCS. Starting next quarter it will have a more routine earnings report with a conference call for analysts and investors, a spokeswoman said.

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