It is hard to avoid the conclusion that size matters in telecom. It is an expensive business; contenders need to be large enough and produce sufficient cash flow to absorb the costs of expanding networks and services that become obsolete seemingly overnight. Transmission systems need to be replaced as frequently as every two years. Big companies that own extensive networks—especially local networks that stretch directly into customers' homes and businesses—are less reliant on interconnecting with other companies to get calls and data to their final destinations. By contrast, smaller players must pay for interconnection more often in order to finish the job. For little operators hoping to grow big one day, the financial challenges of keeping up with rapid technological change and depreciation of equipment can be monumental.
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Earnings can be a tricky issue when analyzing telecom companies. Many companies have little or no earnings to speak of. To gauge a company's value, telecom industry analysts might turn to the price-to-sales ratio (stock price divided by sales). They also look at average revenue per user (ARPU), which offers a useful measure of growth performance, and the churn rate, the rate at which customers leave (presumably for a competitor).
T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS)
Revenue (TTM): $59.9 billion
Net Income (TTM): $3.1 billion
Market Cap: $159.7 billion
1-Year Trailing Total Return: 68.3%
T-Mobile US is a major U.S. wireless carrier offering various data plans as well as consumer and business telecommunications services. T-Mobile also offers prepaid wireless products and services as well. In April 2020, T-Mobile completed its merger with Sprint Corp., which the company expects to sharply increase its capacity by a factor of 14 in the coming six years. It sells devices and services through company owned and operated stores and websites.
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