Shares in MetroPCS Communications were trading up more than 6 percent, to $6.68, at one point this morning after the company reported favorable fourth-quarter results. The company’s net income for the fourth quarter increased $18 million, or 127 percent, compared with the fourth quarter of 2008.
Numbers released today were in line with what the facilities-based carrier released in January: 317,000 net subscriber additions in the fourth quarter and churn of 5.3 percent compared with 5.1 percent in the year-ago quarter.
The no-contract carrier ended 2009 with more than 6.6 million subscribers, making it the sixth largest facilities-based carrier based on subscribers.
Of course, the company saw increased competition during 2009. Taking a page from other no-contract providers like Boost Mobile and its $50 all-inclusive plan, MetroPCS introduced all-inclusive rate plans of its own. Metro’s Wireless for All, launched in January, includes plans from $40 to $60 per month.
Looking forward, the company is gearing up for the commercial launch of LTE services in the second half of this year. Last year, MetroPCS enlisted Ericsson as its infrastructure vendor and Samsung to provide its initial LTE handset. But the company is not providing guidance for fiscal year 2010 in part because of economic uncertainties.
Meanwhile, ARPU was $40.70 compared with $40.52 in the 2008 fourth quarter. Cost per gross addition (CPGA) was $138.36, and cost per user (CPU) increased to $18.06, or about 3 percent, when compared with the fourth quarter of 2008. In a statement, President and CEO Roger Linquist said MetroPCS’ CPU and CPGA for 2009 continued to be among the lowest of any facilities-based wireless carrier.
During a call with financial analysts, he was not commenting on consolidation within the industry as rival and roaming partner Leap Wireless International this week announced it will form a joint venture with Pocket Communications to combine assets in South Texas markets.