T-Mobile said Thursday it posted a first-quarter loss of $151 million, but its ranks of subscribers surged thanks to heavy promotions.
The company, which is controlled by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG, added a net 2.4 million subscribers, which easily amounted to more than the combined quarterly totals of Verizon and AT&T. That pleased investors, and shares of T-Mobile US Inc. shot up nearly 8 percent in midday trading.
T-Mobile’s quarterly total included 1.3 million long-term, good-credit customers. Of that number, 1.2 million were related to phones while 67,000 stemmed from tablets and other kinds of mobile devices.
These so-called postpaid customers are more lucrative and stable for wireless carriers. Elsewhere in the wireless industry, these are known as contract customers, but T-Mobile ended traditional two-year contract requirements when it introduced new pricing plans in March 2013.
T-Mobile has been working to take customers away from larger carriers such as Verizon and AT&T. Late last year, the company began offering free data and texting abroad, along with a limited amount of free data each month for tablet owners.
For the period ended March 31, T-Mobile said its loss amounted to 19 cents per share and compared with a profit of $107 million, or 20 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.
Analysts polled by FactSet had expected a loss of 10 cents per share.
Revenue jumped 47 percent, to $6.88 billion from $4.68 billion, but missed Wall Street expectations of $6.92 billion.
Operating expenses rose 61 percent.