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AT&T Wireless Reports Strong Subscriber Growth

AT&T Wireless Group Tuesday reported stronger than expected subscriber growth for its first quarter, which in turn fueled a revenue increase of 46.2 percent to $3.2 billion.

The company said net subscriber additions to its mobility business were 585,000, a rise of 40 percent from the same quarter a year ago. That brings the company's number of total consolidated subscribers to 15.7 million. That represents a 57.7 percent increase over the previous year, including subscribers brought in through acquisitions that took place after first quarter 2000.

When partnerships and affiliates are added into the mix, the new subscribers totaled 870,000, bringing the total to 17.9 million.

For the year, the company expects consolidated subscriber growth to be about 20 percent, with second quarter 2001 net subscriber additions expected to grow in the mid- to high 20 percent range.

However, that upside is slightly offset by a decline in average revenue per user (ARPU) of 7.4 percent to $62.20.

"AT&T Wireless has delivered another strong quarter of growth," said AT&T Wireless Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John D. Zeglis. "We reported total revenue growth of 46 percent, increased net subscriber additions by 40 percent and grew mobility EBITDA by 83 percent."

AT&T Wireless' first quarter numbers also make it, along with AT&T Broadband, the two leading lines of business in the AT&T family. According to Zeglis, that positions AT&T Wireless well when the AT&T parent follows through with its plans to break itself into four companies.

"Following AT&T's wireless exchange offer in the coming weeks, we're well positioned for the split-off this summer," Zeglis said. "In the first quarter we received investment grade debt ratings from Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch. That allowed us to complete a private global note offering for $6.5 billion as well as secure a revolving credit facility for an additional $2.5 billion.

"In essence, we've been laying the groundwork for our future success. AT&T Wireless has the intellectual capital and resources to expand capacity and invest in other strategic growth initiatives, even while strengthening our balance sheet. In addition, AT&T Wireless, in its strategic alliance with NTT DoCoMo, is developing the next generation of mobile multimedia services on a global-standard, high-speed wireless network. It's a winning plan."