“We reported strong operating performance for the first nine months of 2012 which has driven significant growth in our operating cash flow and added to an already robust balance sheet. We were pleased to pass along to our stockholders the benefits of ATN’s recent and long-term cash flow and profit growth by increasing our quarterly cash dividend by nearly 9% -- our 14 th consecutive annual increase,” Mr. Prior noted.
Third Quarter 2012 Operating Highlights
U.S. Wireless Service Revenues
U.S. wireless service revenues include voice and data service revenues from the Company's prepaid and postpaid retail operations as well as its wholesale roaming operations. Total service revenues from the U.S. wireless businesses were $138.2 million compared to $146.2 million in the third quarter of 2011, a decrease of 6%.
U.S. retail wireless service revenues
were $83.3 million, 7% below the $89.1 million reported in the 2011 third quarter. This decrease was due to net subscriber attrition that the Company experienced during 2011. At the end of the 2012 third quarter, the Company had approximately 585,000 U.S. retail subscribers, a decrease of 1% from the approximately 593,000 subscribers the Company had at the end of last year’s third quarter. However, despite a high percentage of contract expirations, this quarter marked the second consecutive quarter in which the Company experienced net subscriber additions in its U.S. retail wireless business. The 2012 fourth quarter will be another period of higher-than-average contract expirations, which is likely to result in a decrease in postpaid subscribers, despite being a seasonally strong quarter for new subscriber additions. Of the total subscribers at September 30, 2012, approximately 432,000 were postpaid subscribers and approximately 153,000 were prepaid subscribers. Additional operating data on the Company’s U.S. retail wireless business can be found in Table 4 of this release.
U.S. wholesale wireless revenues
were $54.9 million, a decrease of 4% from the $57.0 million reported in the third quarter of 2011. Consistent with industry trends, voice traffic continued to decline in comparison with the prior year, partially offset by increased data usage. Data roaming revenue for certain of the Company’s coverage areas is currently expected to decline over time, however, as roaming partners increase their data network coverage and capacity in those areas. Data revenues accounted for 52% of wholesale wireless revenues for the quarter, compared to 46% a year earlier. As previously disclosed, one of the Company’s roaming partners exercised a call option in July 2012 to repurchase spectrum and related cell sites in the midwestern U.S. for approximately $15.8 million. The transaction is expected to be completed in late 2012. For the first nine months of 2012, the Company’s wholesale revenue from these network assets amounted to approximately $12 million.
International Wireless Revenues
International wireless revenues include retail and wholesale voice and data wireless revenues from international operations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, including some of the smaller island markets. International wireless revenues were $21.0 million, an increase of 3% over the $20.4 million reported in the third quarter of 2011. This increase primarily resulted from subscriber growth in the U.S. Virgin Islands.