US Cellular beats Q4 estimates, CEO says company ‘met 2020 challenges successfully’
US Cellular reported a total operating revenue of $1.073 billion for the Q4 2020
According to its President and CEO Laurent Therivel, US Cellular “met the challenges of 2020 successfully,” with the carrier reporting a total operating revenue of $1.073 billion for the fourth quarter and $4 billion for the year, representing a modest increase from 2019 in both instances.
Breaking down revenue further reveals that inbound roaming revenue was $33 million, a decrease of $9 million year-over-year, which the company said was driven by a decrease in data volume resulting partially the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile and the migration of Sprint roaming traffic to T-Mobile’s network. Other service revenues were $60 million, an increase of $5 million year-over-year and equipment sales revenues increased by $8 million year-over-year.
On the investor call, Therivel said the “strong results” are “testament to the essential nature of [US Cellular’s] services, our talented and resilient team and our unwavering commitment to keeping our customers connected.”
The company managed to grow retail net additions and achieve high customer satisfaction despite the challenges associated with the pandemic, he continued.
“Growth in operating revenue, combined with maintaining operational and cost discipline, contributed to an increase in full year profitability. Our network modernization program and investments in 5G continued, and despite significant increases in data usage, we were able to keep system expenses in check,” he said.
Other interesting developments throughout the final quarter of 2020 include the 9% growth of US Cellular’s broadband residential connections, revealing that 13% of the company’s wireline customers are taking advantage of its fiber offering.
“Forty percent of broadband customers are taking 100-megabit speeds or greater compared to 33% a year ago, helping to drive a 5% increase in average residential revenue per connection,” Vicki L. Villacrez, senior vice president of finance CFO, said on the call. “Wireline residential video connections grew 8%. And at the same time, we expanded our IPTV markets to 55, up from 40 a year ago.”
Villacrez also provided an update on the carrier’s multi-year fiber footprint expansion, stating that 307,000 or 36% of its wireline service addresses are now served by fiber, which is up from 30% a year ago.
“This is driving revenue growth, while also expanding the total wireline footprint 7% to 845,000 service addresses,” she added.
The company’s focus for 2021, Therivel said, will be continuing to modernize its network, ramping up business opportunities that utilize 5G and IoT, enhancing its customer digital experience, as well as expanding its market share.