Leap posts $47.4 net loss, adds nearly 493K subs

Leap Wireless posted a wider net loss in the first quarter. In addition, the prepaid regional carrier touted its investments in new markets, including Chicago and Philadelphia as well as its broadband services. Leap reported a net loss of $47.4 million in the quarter, up from $16.9  million in the year-ago quarter. The carrier, which offers unlimited CDMA usage plans, also saw a jump in net subscriber additions.

Revenues: Total revenues increased 25 percent to $587 million, up from $468.4 million in the year-ago quarter. Leap's service revenues jumped 29 percent to $514.0 million, with more than one-third of the increase coming from existing markets.

Net additions:
The carrier had nearly 493,000 net subscriber additions in the quarter, more than double the 230,000 it had in the year-ago quarter. Leap's total customer base is now 4.33 million, up from 3.09 million in first quarter of 2008 and up from 3.84 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. There were also around 122,800 net broadband additions in the quarter. Leap has made an aggressive push in the broadband space since last summer.

Churn improved to 3.3 percent, down from 3.6 percent in last year's first quarter.

ARPU declined to $42.21, down from 44.98 in the year-ago quarter. The company said the 6.2 percent decline was because of increased adoptions of its broadband and PAYGo services, which are priced lower than most the Leap's Cricket Wireless service plans.

Outlook: Leap said it expected 1.5 million total net subscriber additions in 2009, which includes voice and broadband additions in their existing and expansion markets. Leap said it plans on covering up to approximately 25 million additional POPs by the middle of 2009, as measured from what Leap's covered POPs were in January 2009. Leap also identified 16 million additional POPs that it could choose to cover within the next 18 to 24 months. In addition, Leap said  it would make a decision on whether to go through with those plans by the middle of the year.  The company's aggressive buildout plans may reflect increased competition from Sprint Nextel's Boost Mobile prepaid unit, which is offering a $50 per month unlimited voice, data and texting plan.  

For more:
- see this release

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