Summary Box: T-Mobile USA gains net subscribers

BETTER TIMES: T-Mobile USA gained a net 126,000 subscribers in the third quarter after three periods of losses. It still lost contract subscribers, who are the most lucrative, but at a slower rate.

WHAT HELPED: The company credited its “Value” plans, which give subscribers the option to pay lower monthly fees if they bring their own phones or pay full price for new phones. The plans are helping T-Mobile USA set it apart somewhat from the competition.

THE FLIP SIDE: AT&T Inc.’s deal to buy T-Mobile from its German parent Deutsche Telekom AG has hit a roadblock in Washington. T-Mobile’s Value plans are the types of things that the Justice Department fears might go missing if T-Mobile is bought up by AT&T.