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US Cellular announced its 3rd quarter results today. The company said that it added a total of 35,000 postpaid subscribers and 31,000 prepaid customers during the quarter. In total, the carrier now has over 4.5 million postpaid and 515,000 prepaid subscribers. Customer turnover rate, or what is otherwise known as the churn rate was 1.16% for postpaid and 4.75% for prepaid.
US Cellular's postpaid subscriber count had been in a steady decline for 3 out of the last 5 quarters while its prepaid customer count had been stagnant until the jump this quarter.
The company reported revenues of $963 million during the quarter but a net loss of $299 million. Revenue for the year is expected to come in between $3.85 billion and $3.95 billion.
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Average revenue per postpaid user came in at $43.41, which marked the 4th time in the past 5 quarters that it was down. Average revenue per prepaid user came in at $33.12 and has been down in 4 out of the last 5 quarters as well.
Seven new towers were added during the quarter and 35 total went up during the past year.
Kenneth Myers, CEO of US Cellular said that the subscriber gains came due to the introduction of new plans earlier this year, including an offering with unlimited data.
“I am quite pleased with the operating results for the quarter as we continued to build on the momentum of the previous quarter, growing subscribers and increasing customer loyalty while tightly managing costs,” Meyers said in a press release. “Overall, we are competing effectively in the marketplace…. We believe we have found a good balance of promotional offers to get new customers into our stores, and we treat all of our customers exceptionally well with our customer-focused service orientation.”
US Cellular saw its subscriber count grow by 66,000 during the quarter. That's quite a jump for the nation's 5th largest carrier. The additions alone likely surpass the overall subscriber count of many MVNO's.
What's interesting is that the carrier was able to do it with pricing and plans that are largely uncompetitive in the overall marketplace. It's postpaid plans in fact largely resemble postpaid plans of yesteryear. For instance US Cellular offers an unlimited talk, text and data plan with the first 2 GB at high speeds for $55/month. Throw in the cost of a phone and you're paying even more. This is the most expensive 2 GB major carrier data plan on the market.
So as someone that is value conscious it's hard for me to understand why one would choose US Cellular over another major carrier or one of its MVNOs that also offer better nationwide coverage.
If you're a subscriber enlighten me. Tell me in the comments why US Cellular is your carrier of choice. Is it because of customer support, or are they the only carrier with coverage in your area?