A focus on the smartphone sector resulted in an additional 19,000 smartphone subscribers for Cincinnati Bell’s wireless unit in the fourth quarter. The company ended the year with 83,000 smartphone customers, almost double the number at the end of 2008.
Quarterly revenue from the wireless segment of $77 million decreased $2 million, or 3 percent, compared to the prior year. Operating income for the full year 2009 was $33 million, a decrease of $14 million from 2008, and adjusted EBITDA of $77 million was down $6 million, primarily as a result of less postpaid subscribers compared to 2008 and increased subsidy costs to support smartphone subscriber growth, offset by lower operating costs, the company said.
Postpaid subscriber average revenue per user (ARPU) in the fourth quarter was $48.82 compared with $48.46 a year ago and included data ARPU growth of 24 percent. Prepaid ARPU was $29.07, up $3.92, or 16 percent, compared with the fourth quarter of 2008 due to the company’s focus on higher revenue rate plans. Prepaid churn is at its lowest full year level since 2004.
As a whole, Cincinnati Bell’s revenue for the year was $1.3 billion, a decrease of 5 percent from 2008. Fourth-quarter 2009 net income excluding special items was $24 million compared with $26 million in 2008.
The company says it will be focused on growing its data center business in 2010 and capitalizing on the organic growth the company has seen over the past few years.