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T-Mobile sells 500,000 iPhone 5s in first month of availability, but quarterly profits take a hit

T-Mobile sells 500,000 iPhone 5s in first month of availability, but quarterly profits take a hit

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T-Mobile has officially released its earnings for the first quarter, and with that the carrier released its first iPhone sales numbers. Since launching on April 12th, T-Mobile says that the company has sold approximately 500,000 iPhone 5 smartphones — not a bad rate, but far behind the 4.8 million iPhones that AT&T sold in the first three months of the year. Of course, AT&T's numbers are surely boosted by the free iPhone 4 and $99 iPhone 4S. T-Mobile also sells Apple's older phones, but it didn't give a combined total for its sales of Apple's line — we'd expect that to come next quarter, when it has a full three months of data to report.

As for the rest of the results, they pretty much matched up with what T-Mobile shared as preliminary numbers last month. The carrier added a total of 579,000 new customers — but only 3,000 of those were branded T-Mobile customers. The rest was made up of MVNO and other unbranded users of T-Mobile's network, but that was still the first branded customer increase the carrier has seen since the first quarter of 2009. To go along with that slight increase in branded customers, T-Mobile also noted that its branded customer churn rate (percentage of customers who left the carrier) was 1.9 percent, the lowest since the second quarter of 2008. Still, the carrier lost 199,000 branded postpaid customers — though the company managed to slow the losses in that category it has been experiencing for many quarters. One year ago, T-Mobile lost 510,000 postpaid customers.

However, those iPhone sales and customer additions didn't help the bottom line as much as T-Mobile woud have hoped — the company's $107 million net income in Q1 2013 was a significant drop from the $200 million it posted a year ago. To get a better picture of what to expect from T-Mobile going forward, we'll need to wait until next quarter — it'll be the first full quarter of results from the carrier's new contract-free strategy.