Despite some financial hiccups, Alltel Communications L.L.C. managed to acquire more than 1 million gross customer additions during the third quarter, a 28% increase from a year ago. The carrier recorded 335,152 net customer adds, with 255,299 of those signing up for postpaid plans.
Alltel’s postpaid churn hit 1.33%, and total churn reached just over 2%. Average revenue per user (ARPU) was $55.62. Data revenue per wireless customer was $8.99, up 42% year-over-year.
As for the carrier’s finances, Alltel reported revenue of $2.5 billion, accompanied by a loss of $55.2 million, which it blamed on the 2007 merger with TPG Capital and GS Capital partners, saying the deal came in line with extra costs, depreciation and amortization expenses.
Verizon Wireless likely will be pleased with the results. Verizon’s proposed $28 billion purchase of Alltel was recently approved by the Department of Justice, and awaits final regulatory approval, perhaps as early as today. Should the deal go through, Verizon Wireless will surpass AT&T Mobility as the No. 1 U.S. wireless provider.
With about 14 million total subscribers, Alltel is the nation’s fifth largest U.S. carrier, and its results come days after AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless posted their quarterly earnings.
AT&T saw a Michael Phelps-type third quarter success, shattering records and strengthening its No. 1 position. The carrier reported 2 million net customer additions, 1.7 million of them as postpaid customers. The numbers were boosted by the carrier’s release of Apple Inc.’s 3G iPhone during the quarter. AT&T reported 2.4 million iPhone activations; 40% of them were new customers.
Verizon Wireless slightly trailed AT&T, adding 1.5 million post-paid subscribers. Sprint Nextel Corp. will announce third-quarter earnings Friday.