More Good News: Nextel, US Cellular, TracFone
More quarterly results today, and the trend toward good news continues for the US wireless carrier industry. US Cellular Corp brings good news and bad, by passing 5.1M subs while also seeing churn go up from 1.3 to 1.5%, and lower ARPU $2 less than 1Q last year. ARPU was down because of a reduction in outbound roaming charges. But the bottom line was good, with the Chicago-based company posting total revenues up 7.7% over last year and net income up 83%. Nextel increased subs by 810,000 with 314,000 of those on Boost. The PTT specialists ended the quarter with 17M subs, 1.5M of those on Boost. Churn dropped from 1.7 to 1.5 and ARPU was down from $69 to $67. Boost data shows churn of 5% and ARPU of $41. Nextel total revenues were up 16%, but net income was down a hair to $589M, and the carrier affirmed the Sprint merger is still on track. Meanwhile, low-cost, prepaid leader TracFone added 457,000 subs to reach 4.9M. Operating profit for TracFone was at $34M, a big hike from 1Q last year’s $5M. TracFone’s recipe for market success is: good distribution, simple plans, low commitment, and low barriers to subscribe.