January 9, 2019 / 2:15 PM / a year ago

T-Mobile adds more phone subscribers than expected in fourth quarter

FILE PHOTO: A T-Mobile logo is seen on the storefront door of a store in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) - T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) on Wednesday beat Wall Street estimates for net new phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill, adding 1 million customers in the fourth quarter.

The third largest U.S. mobile carrier was expected to add 857,900 new phone subscribers, according to research firm FactSet.

Last month, T-Mobile won backing from two national security reviews for its deal to buy smaller rival Sprint Corp (S.N) as it strives for more scale to compete with Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and AT&T Inc (T.N).

The report on subscriber numbers comes a day after Verizon beat Wall Street estimates for net new phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill, adding 650,000 customers in the fourth quarter.

T-Mobile’s postpaid phone churn, or the percentage of subscribers who leave a service provider, was 0.99 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 1.02 percent in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

For the third quarter, T-Mobile exceeded analysts’ estimates for net new phone subscribers and profit, driven by its competitive wireless plans and trade-in offers for iPhones aimed at fending off its bigger rivals.

The company’s shares were up nearly 1 percent at $68.32 in morning trading.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel and Shounak Dasgupta

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