MetroPCS surges on revenue, subscriber growth

MetroPCS (NASDAQ: PCS) notched strong subscriber growth and better-than-expected revenue in its first quarter, offsetting a drop in profit. The flat-rate carrier said it remains on track to launch a prepaid LTE service in select markets in the second half of the year, but was mum on pricing details.

Click here for key stats on MetoPCS' quarter.Despite the positive results, the company reported a 21 percent drop in net income, down to $22.7 million from $44 million in the year-ago period, as it was hit by a 30 percent jump in operating costs.

Investors seemed pleased, nonetheless, as the carrier's stock rose by more than 11 percent following the news to around $8.55 per share.

Here's a breakdown of MetroPCS' key quarterly metrics:

Subscribers: MetroPCS had 692,000 total net subscriber additions in the quarter, up from 684,000 in the year-ago period. The company swung back to strong subscriber growth after reporting weaker numbers in the second half of the year; the carrier had 66,000 net additions in the third quarter and 317,000 in the fourth quarter. MetroPCS ended the quarter with 7.33 million total subscribers, up 21 percent from a year ago. The operator touted its revamped unlimited plans, which it launched in January, as key to its success in the quarter.

The flat-rate carrier's new base plan is $40 per month, and offers unlimited voice, texting and Web access. MetroPCS also has plans for $45, $50 and $60 (as well as a $50 smartphone plan), which add services as subscribers go up the price ladder. However, with Sprint Nextel's (NYSE: S) newly unveiled plans to relaunch the Virgin Mobile brand as well as a new brand focused on the pay-per-minute market, MetroPCS is likely to come under increased pressure.  

Revenue: Total revenue for the quarter clocked in at $971 million, up 22 percent from $795 million in the year-ago period. Service revenue totalled $853 million, up 17 percent from $727 million in the first quarter of 2009.

Churn: Churn dipped to 3.7 percent, down from 5 percent in the year-ago quarter.

ARPU: Average revenue per user was $39.83 in the quarter, down from $40.40 in the year-ago period and $40.70 in the fourth quarter.

For more:
- see this release
- see these key MetroPCS stats
- see this FierceWireless Q1 earnings page
- see this Reuters article
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)

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