Reports of Huge Customer Data Breach Send T-Mobile Stock Falling

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Updated Aug. 16, 2021 3:37 pm ET / Original Aug. 16, 2021 12:14 pm ET

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T-Mobile US is looking into a potential data hack that accessed its customers’ sensitive and personal information. It’s just the latest of several breaches into the wireless company’s systems in recent years, and appears to be a particularly massive one.

T-Mobile stock (ticker: TMUS) was down about 3% on Monday, at around $140.

The online publication Motherboard reported on Sunday that customer data claiming to be from T-Mobile servers was for sale online. A T-Mobile spokesperson confirmed to Barron’s on Monday that there had been unauthorized access to some of the company’s data.

“We have not yet determined that there is any personal customer data involved,” the T-Mobile spokesperson said. “We are confident that the entry point used to gain access has been closed, and we are continuing our deep technical review of the situation across our systems to identify the nature of any data that was illegally accessed.”

The spokesperson also said that T-Mobile was coordinating with law enforcement officials.

Motherboard said it had seen some of the data, which included names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s licenses, and Social Security numbers. It wrote that data of more than 100 million people was included in the breach. T-Mobile had about 105 million customers at the end of the second quarter.

It would be the third time in little over a year that T-Mobile has been hacked. In December, some prepaid customers’ personal information was exposed, and in March 2020 T-Mobile said that a “sophisticated attack” was successful at stealing some customers’ billing information, Social Security numbers, and more. T-Mobile also disclosed hacks in 2018 and 2019.

For investors, T-Mobile stock has been a bet that the once-upstart company—post Sprint merger—can match and surpass rivals AT&T (T) and Verizon Communications (VZ) in the 5G era. That may be coming with some growing pains.

T-Mobile stock is up 4% since the start of the year, versus a 3% return including dividends for AT&T and a 2% loss for Verizon. The S&P 500 has returned 20% year to date. T-Mobile stock is up 74% since Barron’s recommended buying the shares in January 2020, well ahead of its rivals and the index.

Write to nicholas.jasinski@barrons.com

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