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Nextel Partners Beats Earnings, Fades on Revenue

Nextel Partners (NXTP) left very little to the imagination when its CFO John Thompson released key first-quarter results at an April 12 Credit Suisse First Boston presentation. Those who stuck around for the finer points in its earnings report were rewarded with a 27-cent per share loss, besting analysts' predictions of a 31-cent loss, as gathered by Multex.com. Despite a 23% sequential increase in revenue to $63.1 million, the company fell short of Street revenue expectations of $68 million.

Back in April, Thompson stripped the small- and mid-sized wireless market carrier's first-quarter fortunes down to the flesh, revealing 61,600 new subscribers and average revenue per user of $70. The up-and-comer boasts 289,000 customers, and lost only 1.6% to customer churn in the first quarter, an improvement over the previous quarter. Additionally, the company showed off its $890 million in cash and credit lines to head off recent discussions about partner Nextel (NXTL) and communication competitors' debt situations and ability to fund network construction.

Nextel management delved into new numbers to lay out a second quarter that will feature rapid hiring, leading to a wider EBITDA loss of $28 million in the second quarter (vs. the first quarter's $22.9 million EBITDA loss). For the year, the young company plans to grow service revenue -- a number that excludes money made on equipment -- by 260%.

Nextel Partners is exerting a lot of energy in the buildout department, and plans to spend $362 million in 2001. Stripping down to its last number, the company plans to be cash flow positive in 2004.

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