NII Holdings (NIHD)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 27, 2011 8:30 am ET


Gokul Hemmady - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Steven P. Dussek - Chief Executive Officer and Director

Tim Perrott - VP IR and Corporate Communications


Andrew T. Campbell - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

James D. Breen - William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division

Christopher C. King - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Richard H. Prentiss - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Mauricio Fernandes - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Will Milner - Arete Research Services LLP

Kevin M. Roe - Roe Equity Research, LLC



Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for holding, and welcome to the NII Holdings Third Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] I will now turn the conference over to our host, Tim Perrott, Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. Please go ahead, sir.

Tim Perrott

Thank you, Simon, and good morning to everyone. And thank you for joining NII Holdings Third Quarter 2011 Results Conference Call. With me on the call today are Steve Dussek, our CEO; and Gokul Hemmady, our Executive Vice President and CFO.

As a preliminary matter, let me inform you that some of the issues discussed today that are not historical will be forward-looking, and as such, should be taken in the context of the risks and uncertainties that are outlined in the SEC filings of NII Holdings, including our 2010 annual report on Form 10-K, as well as other documents we have filed with the SEC.

In addition, during this call, we'll be discussing certain financial measures that do not conform to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the U.S. or better known as GAAP. For a reconciliation of these financial measures to GAAP, please access NII's Investor Relations link at

Before I turn the call over to Steve Dussek, I would like to mention that this call is being webcast and will be available for replay on and

I would now like to introduce Steve Dussek, our CEO. Steve?

Steven P. Dussek

Thanks, Tim, and good morning to everyone joining our call today. As you can see in the press release that we issued this morning, we delivered another quarter of strong subscriber growth while continuing to make progress on the deployment of our 3G networks. Our focus in providing quality service led to a strong subscriber growth as we added 433,000 new customers to our network during the quarter. We have grown our customer base by 19% over the past year, crossing the 10 million subscriber mark. We were especially pleased to see improved subscriber growth in Mexico, where our net adds more than doubled relative to the second quarter.

We generated $381 million in OIBDA for the quarter while continuing to invest in the development of our 3G networks. We achieved a key milestone with the launch of our Push-to-Talk service on our 3G network in Peru. This new capability positions us to continue to offer our customers the best Push-to-Talk experience in the industry while supporting a range of new features and functionality. These new features include handsets and mobile broadband with data speeds that are up to 50x faster than those that are available on our 2G service.

We launched our first handset with this new capability just a few weeks ago in our direct and indirect sales channels, and so far, we have seen good customer acceptance of the product. Over the coming months, we will broaden our handset portfolio to 4 devices, including 1 smart device, and expand the distribution of these new handsets to our retail outlets.

We also made significant progress in the deployment of our 3G networks in Brazil, Mexico and Chile. In both Brazil and Mexico, we are currently planning for mid-2012 commercial launches of our 3G service in key markets. In Chile, we are continuing to push forward toward our goal of a commercial launch of 3G services in early 2012. Finally, we made significant progress on our marketing plans with the refresh of our brand image and our retail sales and service locations.

As you may know, the Nextel brand in Latin America is recognized by customers as the premium wireless brand. Our new identity unifies our brand across our 5 markets under the slogan "Your world. Now," building on our reputation of providing the highest quality wireless experience. As we invest in our business to expand both the services we offer and the customers we target, we believe that our new image and channels will enhance our position with our current customer segments and broaden our appeal to new high-value customers in the region.

So overall, we are making great progress with our plans to deploy 3G. We are very excited about the investments that we are making in our brand and our network, positioning us to significantly expand our addressable market and remain one of the fastest-growing wireless companies in the world.

I will follow up with more comments later. But right now, I will turn the call over to Gokul Hemmady, our Executive Vice President and CFO.

Gokul Hemmady

Thank you, Steve, and good morning. During the quarter, we generated excellent subscriber growth and good operation metrics despite uncertain economic conditions. As you know, we translate our results to U.S. dollars using the average foreign currency exchange rate during the quarter. Our reported financial results were impacted by the weakening of local currency exchange rate late in the quarter. While we cannot conclude what happens in the foreign exchange market, we can and will continue to concentrate on the drivers of the business, like our performance against our key operating metrics. We believe this focus has served us well when we faced challenging conditions in the past and offered the best opportunity to create value for our business over the long term.

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