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Alltel picks up pace in third quarter

It was a good quarter to be Alltel. In their report released on Friday, the carrier said it had added a net 205,000 subscribers in the quarter, shattering most analysts’ forecasts. Alltel is also happy announce, though we’re a bit saddened by it, that they lost 8,000 prepaid customers. Why are they happy at this? Because that means they added 213,000 postpaid customers. You know, the ones who are under service agreements. That means guaranteed money for Alltel, and we all know that carriers value that far greater than their prepaid counterparts.

Profit also shot up for Alltel, rising 51 percent from last year. It appears that Goldman Sachs is very pleased with its recent purchase of the company. Word on the street is that they’re looking to take it out of the public sector before the end of the year. How this will affect business we’re not sure.

The prepaid news, as we said, saddens us. We’re huge fans of Alltel’s pay-per-day feature. For 75 cents a day you get unlimited text messaging and unlimited nights and weekends. And then calls are just 10 cents a minute. If you can avoid talking during peak hours, this works out very well, and you can probably do it for under $30 per month.

But from a business standpoint, it makes sense for Alltel to concentrate on its postpaid service, which generate more income. The spill over from prepaid, they say, went to Tracfone mostly, who added 227,000 prepaid customers during the quarter. The 213,000 headed Alltel’s way came from many places, Sprint being the foremost. The nation’s No. 3 carrier is expected to announce a loss of customers during the third quarter

[Reuters]