U.S. Cellular chief Rooney retiring this year

U.S. Cellular CEO John "Jack" Rooney will retire this year, the carrier's parent company, Telephone & Data Systems said. The company has not named a successor and did not provide a specific timetable for his departure, which marks the end of an era for the regional wireless player.

us celllular ceo jack john rooneyRooney, 67, has been with U.S. Cellular for a decade, and has helped grow it to the No. 6 wireless carrier in the country. The company, which operates in 26 states, is one of the few remaining regional carriers left in a landscape that has seen significant consolidation over the past several years. TDS has hired executive recruiting company Spencer Stuart to look for a replacement.

TDS and U.S. Cellular also reported fourth-quarter earnings, and both reported a profit. TDS reported a profit of $16.5 million, or 15 cents a share, up from a year-ago loss of $168.9 million. U.S. Cellular posted a profit of $12.4 million, a sharp swing from the $200.1 million loss it posted in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Here's a breakdown of U.S. Cellular's key quarterly metrics:

Subscribers: U.S. Cellular had net subscriber additions of 10,000 in the quarter, an improvement from a net subscriber loss of 24,000 in the previous quarter, but down from the 20,000 net adds it had in the year-ago quarter. The carrier finished the quarter with 6.14 million total subscribers.

Revenue: Total revenue was $1.06 billion, up slightly from $1.05 billion in the year-ago quarter. Service revenues were up slightly to $986 million.

Churn: Postpaid churn was 1.6 percent, an improvement from 1. 7 percent in the third quarter and flat from the year-ago period.

ARPU: Average revenue per user was $47.12, up from $47.02 in the third quarter and $46.43 in the fourth quarter of 2008.

For more:
- see this FierceWireless Q4 earnings page
- see this release
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article

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Article updated Marc 1 to reflect U.S. Cellular's ranking in terms of subscribers.