NTelos now covers 53% of POPs with LTE, putting it ahead of year-end goal

Regional operator and Sprint (NYSE: S) wholesale partner nTelos Wireless said it is ahead of schedule in deploying LTE across its footprint. The carrier also reported stronger year-over-year subscriber growth in the second quarter.

Further, the company said it is on track to wind down operations in its Eastern markets by Nov. 15. NTelos announced a plan in December to exit from its Eastern markets and focus on markets in western Virginia and West Virginia where it has a stronger retail presence and benefits from a network deal with Sprint.

NTelos has sold 91 of its 103 cell towers to an affiliate of Grain Management for $39.3 million, and it closed on its deal to sell some of its 1900 MHz PCS spectrum to T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) for $56 million. The spectrum deal was part of nTelos' Eastern market exit plan.  

In a statement, nTelos said that around 53 percent of its covered POPs in its Western markets have access to its LTE network, exceeding its original year-end 2015 goal of 50 percent coverage. During the six months that ended June 30, nTelos said it migrated 84,500 customers off of its Eastern markets to other carriers.

Here is a look at some of nTelos' key quarterly metrics:

Customers: NTelos had 297,500 total subscriber as of June 30 compared to 290,100 for the first quarter 2015 and 274,000 at the end of the second quarter of 2014. The carrier said it added 7,400 total net subscribers in the second quarter, compared to 3,000 in the year-ago period and 8,000 in the first quarter.

Churn: The carrier said postpaid churn was 1.5 percent, the company's lowest quarterly churn since second quarter 2008, and down from 1.8 percent a year ago.

ABPU: Postpaid average monthly billings per user, which includes service pricing and monthly device billings, was $58.64 for the second quarter 2015, compared to $58.04 for the first quarter of 2015 and $59.78 for the second quarter of 2014.

Financials: Western markets revenue was $91.4 million, up 6 percent compared to $86.1 million for the second quarter of 2014. The company said adjusted EBITDA for the Western markets was $27.5 million, down from $33.3 million a year ago. NTelos said EBITDA during the quarter took a hit due to "the absorption of corporate overhead previously allocated" to the Eastern markets in 2014.

For more:
- see this release

Special Report: Wireless in the second quarter of 2015

Related articles:
NTelos CEO mum on rumors of merger with Shentel, but says board is looking at strategic opportunities
NTelos adds 8,000 subs in Q1, migrates 50,000 subs to Sprint's network
T-Mobile completes $56M purchase of PCS spectrum from nTelos
NTelos to sell off 103 of its remaining cell towers for $41M to Grain Management
NTelos reports improved traction in Western markets, aims to cover 50% of customers with LTE by year-end

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