Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

T-Mobile Thursday said it has overtaken AT&T to become the number two wireless carrier in the U.S., ending the second quarter with 98.3 million total subscribers. Shares in T-Mobile surged 7% in after-hours trading.

The big picture: T-Mobile's merger with Sprint, which a federal judge allowed to go forward in February, gave the company a boost, and left the U.S. with only three major national wireless carriers. Verizon is in the lead.

Details: T-Mobile's 98.3 million tally is above the 92.9 million combined subscriber count AT&T had across its core postpaid and prepaid wireless offerings at the end of last quarter.

  • Postpaid plans have customers settle a bill after each month of service. Prepaid plans, traditionally targeted at lower-income and higher credit-risk customers, are paid for in advance each month.

Flashback: Under a settlement with the Justice Department, T-Mobile agreed to sell off some prepaid assets and provide services to Dish Network. The companies also promised regulators they will deliver a 5G network to 97% of the U.S. within three years.

What they're saying: In an earnings call Thursday, T-Mobile executives boasted about the size and quality of its 5G network, saying it has more spectrum made for 5G than AT&T and Verizon combined.

By the numbers:

  • 1.2 million net new customers were added to T-Mobile's network this quarter.
  • Total revenues this quarter, the first as the "New T-Mobile," were $17.7 billion, with service revenues of $13.2 billion.
  • Net income was $110 million; diluted earnings per share, $0.09.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities was $777 million.
  • The adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $7 billion.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 2, 2020 - Economy & Business

A credit upgrade cycle may be coming

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. companies have taken on a historic amount of debt this year, with investment grade corporates already issuing a record $1.5 trillion in bonds, more than any full-year total ever. But many have also upped their holdings of cash, making net debt burdens far lower than expected, data from Bank of America Securities shows.

Why it matters: Lower indebtedness means companies will have stronger balance sheets and better ratings. That could mean not only do fewer companies default on debt than expected, but it "ultimately should lead to an upgrade cycle" in credit ratings, BofA analysts say.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 31,517,087 — Total deaths: 968,726 Total recoveries: 21,622,862Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 6,895,685 — Total deaths: 200,768 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,612,436Map.
  3. Health: The U.S. reaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths — The CDC's crumbling reputation — America turns against coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Politics: Elected officials are failing us on much-needed stimulus.
  5. Business: Two-thirds of business leaders think pandemic will lead to permanent changes — Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus.
  6. Sports: NFL fines maskless coaches.

Louisville declares state of emergency as Breonna Taylor decision looms

A demonstrator holds up a sign of Breonna Taylor during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency Tuesday "due to the potential for civil unrest" ahead of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's expected announcement on the Breonna Taylor case.

Of note: Louisville has witnessed more than 115 days of protests over the police killing of Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, with calls for all the officers involved to be charged.

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