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MetroPCS hits the jackpot in Q1 with 684,000 subscribers

Things couldn’t be going better for MetroPCS. After adding 520,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter they opened the new year with network launches in Boston and New York, and even released their very first BlackBerry. So how did they fare in the post-holiday first quarter? Even better than in the fourth. All told, they added 684,000 subscribers, a 51 percent gain over Q1 2008. This is obviously good news for Metro, though it appears that it could have been even better had it not been for all the customers they lost during the quarter.

Despite all the adds, churn actually rose in the first quarter, to 5 percent from 4 percent in 2008. This number is far above what we typically see from postpaid carriers, but that makes sense. There is nothing beyond an expensive phone tying customers down to Metro and other prepaid carriers. Even with the phone, many carriers can and will flash your CDMA phone to their network.

With the new net additions Metro now claims over 6 million subscribers nationwide. It’s unlikely we see this kind of growth in the next few quarters — they surely benefitted from the recent launches in big markets. Still, even with modest gains for the rest of the year Metro will be well on its way to 7 million subscribers by year’s end.