Despite a 2% year-on-year increase in service revenues to USD977 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, regional carrier US Cellular reported a USD329.1 million net loss compared to a year-ago net income of USD29.2 million. The loss was due to the company recording an impairment of licences of USD386.7 million (pre- tax) in the quarter. The impairment charge had no impact on cash or cash flow.
The company saw a 31.8% increase in data revenues in the three months to 31 December 2008, to USD142.1 million, representing 14.5% of service revenues. Jay Ellison, COO commented, ‘To support the growing demand for data, we have in place an EVDO Rev. A network that was available to approximately 23% of our cell sites at year end, and will cover more than 60% of our cell sites by the end of 2009.’ For full-year 2008 the company recorded a 7.1% increase in service revenues, to USD3.9 billion and a 39.1% increase in data revenues, to USD511.7 million when compared to the previous year. Average revenue per user (ARPU) increased year-over-year for 13 consecutive quarters to USD52.71 in the fourth quarter.
The carrier ended 2008 with just over 5.7 million total subscribers, up from 5.5 million at the end of 2007.