Cingular Revenue Rises on Subscriber Growth

Cingular Wireless, the mobile venture of SBC Communications Inc. (SBC) and BellSouth Corp. (BLS), said Monday revenue rose in the fourth quarter on strong subscriber growth.

Cingular, which bought AT&T Wireless (AWE) in late October, said revenue rose 1.8 percent to $8.1 billion from the same quarter a year earlier, on a pro forma basis, which assumes it owned AT&T Wireless for the entirety of both quarters.

Cingular added 1.8 million customers in the quarter, also on a pro forma basis.

Excluding AT&T Wireless results from before their deal closed in October Cingular reported an operating loss of $497 million compared with a profit of $16 million a year earlier on revenue of $7.1 billion compared with $3.9 billion last year.

Churn, or the percentage of customers canceling their service, was 2.6 percent compared with expectations for churn of just over 3 percent, according to five analysts polled by Reuters.

Pro forma average monthly revenue per user (ARPU) was $49.67 down 5.8 percent compared with a year earlier.

Cingular said that $2.89 of its ARPU came from data services such as Web surfing and text messaging up from $1.75 in the third quarter before the AT&T Wireless deal.