Leap sees wider loss, but adds 385K subscribers in Q4

Leap Wireless posted a wider loss as it continues to expand its broadband offerings, but saw an increase in revenue and subscribers in the fourth quarter. The carrier, which offers unlimited CDMA usage plans, reported a net loss of $54.8 million, up from a loss of $18.1 million in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue: The carrier, which runs Cricket Wireless, reported service revenues of $458.5 million for the fourth quarter, up 23.2 percent from $372.2 million in the year-ago quarter, and total revenues of $518.9 million, up 20.7 percent from $429.8 million in the year-ago period. Leap's full-year service revenues rose 22.5 percent to $1.7 billion, and its full year total revenues rose 20.1 percent to a little under $1.96 billion.     

Net additions: The carrier had more than 385,000 net subscriber additions in the quarter, and more than 942,000 for the full year. Leap ended 2008 with a customer base of 3.84 million subscribers, up more than 34 percent from 2.86 million at the end of 2007. 

Leap said churn in the fourth quarter was 3.8 percent, down from 4.2 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. For the full year, Leap's churn was 4 percent, down from 4.3 percent for 2007. Leap said the decline in churn resulted from ongoing customer retention and loyalty programs as well as service improvements.

ARPU: ARPU decline 6.9 percent in the quarter to $42.44, down from $45.57 in the year-ago quarter. ARPU for the full year was $43.52, down 3.1 percent from $44.92 for all of 2007. Leap said the decline in ARPU was primarily due to the continuing growth of the Company's Cricket Broadband service. Leap announced last August that it was launching a flat-rate $40 per month EV-DO broadband service, and said in its earnings release that the service has been expanded to all of its markets. 

For more:
- see this release

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