- Normalized OIBDA margin of 31.6 percent for the quarter, a 270-basis- point sequential improvement
- Gross subscriber additions of 4.4 million and net subscriber additions of 867 thousand; 52.3 million cellular/PCS subscribers at quarter's end
- Data ARPU grows to $4.33, a sequential improvement of 4.1 percent
- Continued strength in enterprise services, with more than 700 new high-end service contracts in the quarter
- UMTS/HSDPA roll-out on track
- Merger initiatives on or ahead of schedule
- Continued progress in transitioning subscribers to GSM, with 93 percent of minutes now on Cingular's GSM network
ATLANTA, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Cingular Wireless, which is a joint venture between SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE:SBC) and BellSouth Corporation (NYSE:BLS), today reported solid third-quarter results driven by expanded margins, progress on merger initiatives, growth of data ARPU, and continued strength in enterprise services.
For the quarter, the nation's largest wireless provider had OIBDA margins, normalized to exclude merger-related integration costs and costs associated with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, of 31.6 percent, which represents a sequential improvement of 270 basis points. (OIBDA margin is operating income (loss) before depreciation and amortization, divided by total service revenues.) For the first time since its acquisition of AT&T Wireless, Cingular's OIBDA margins were higher than in the comparable quarter in the prior year.
This strong showing in margins was in part the result of the company's continued progress in its merger integration initiatives, which are on or ahead of schedule. For example, by the end of the year Cingular will have integrated its own and former AT&T Wireless GSM networks in30 markets and created a single TDMA network in all its markets.
Cingular's data ARPU improved 4.1 percent sequentially to $4.33, and the company's Business Markets Group signed up more than 700 new high-end service contracts in the quarter.
Gross subscriber additions continued to be strong at 4.4 million. Net additions were 867 thousand, which was 7.3 percent higher than pro forma net additions in the year-ago third quarter. Postpaid net additions were up by 56 percent compared to the year-ago third quarter. (Pro forma results reflect the acquisition of AT&T Wireless, plus related acquisitions and dispositions, as if they had occurred on January 1, 2003.) Cingular ended the third quarter of 2005 with 52.3 million cellular/PCS subscribers.
Monthly subscriber churn was 2.3 percent, which was a sequential increase of 10 basis points, and post-paid churn was 2.0 percent, which was a sequential increase of 20 basis points. Churn results reflect seasonal patterns and a relatively high number of contract expirations in the quarter, the company noted.