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Nextel adds 553K subs in 4Q

RESTON, Va.-Nextel Communications Inc. posted 553,000 net subscriber additions during the final three months of 2003, which was in line with expectations, and added nearly 2.3 million total subscribers last year, ending 2003 with 12.9 million customers. The quarterly customer growth surpassed the 503,000 customers Nextel added in 2002, while the yearly growth was a 16-percent improvement compared with the 1.953 million subscribers the carrier added in 2002.

Customer churn also improved year-over-year from 2.1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2002 to 1.5 percent in 2003, while average revenue per user increased from $69 in 2002 to $70 last year.

Total revenues increased 29 percent from $2.3 billion during the fourth quarter of 2002 to $3 billion in 2003, while full-year revenue increased from $8.7 billion in 2002 to $10.8 billion last year. Net income available to common shareholders dropped from $1.5 billion during the fourth quarter of 2002, or $1.38 per diluted share, to $637 million in 2003, or 56 cents per diluted share. For the year, net income dropped from $1.7 billion in 2002, or $1.78 per share, to $1.5 billion last year, or $1.36 per share.

Nextel forecast that it would add 1.8 million new subscribers this year excluding its Boost Mobile venture and that it expected to post at least $2 in earnings per share for the year.

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