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A look at telecom-industry subscriber reports

A look at telecom-industry subscriber reports

April 26th, 2012 in News

Here is a summary of reports for selected telecommunications companies and what they reveal about their own and the industry's prospects:

April 19: Verizon Wireless gained 501,000 subscribers under contract-based plans in the quarter, slightly above analyst expectations. Contract-based plans are the most lucrative. The average monthly bill for subscribers on such plans was $55.43, up 3.6 percent from a year ago, thanks largely to iPhones coming to Verizon last year. However, most of the profit ends up flowing to Apple because of iPhone subsidies. On the landline side, revenue at Verizon Communications Inc. continued to decline slowly as customers continue to cancel their phone and DSL lines.

Tuesday: AT&T Inc. says it gained a net 187,000 customers on contract-based plans in the first quarter, but these were almost all tablet users, brought in by the launch of the new iPad in March. AT&T gained a net 726,000 subscribers of all kinds in the first quarter, counting ones on no-contract plans and ones on non-phone devices like the Kindle. That was the lowest figure in eight years, and less than a third of the number of subscribers added in the same period last year.

Wednesday: Sprint Nextel Corp. says it added a net 263,000 subscribers to the Sprint network on contract-based plans. That was up just a smidgen from a year ago, but it comes as AT&T and Verizon Wireless have seen big drops in new customers.

Leap Wireless International Inc., the nation's sixth-largest cellphone carrier and operator of the Cricket brand, says it had 258,000 net new customers in the quarter. The company says that nearly 62 percent of new handset sales in the quarter were for smartphones or phones that can use its Muve Music unlimited music subscription service. Smartphone or Muve customers tend to generate more revenue for the company.

Coming up:

Thursday: MetroPCS Communications Inc.

May 7: Frontier Communications Corp.

May 9: CenturyLink Inc.

May 10: T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG; Windstream Corp.

Not yet known: U.S. Cellular Corp. (unit of Telephone Data and Systems Inc.)