One company that’s doing well despite the crappy economy: MetroPCS, which sells all-you-can-eat mobile phone service in LA and other markets for as low as $30 a month. The carrier announced this morning that it had signed up 249,999 net new subscribers during Q3, significantly more than the 182,000 that Wall Street expected, according to Jefferies analyst Romeo Reyes.
One handy growth driver: MetroPCS’ newish “MetroFlash” service, which lets you use your old Verizon (VZ) or Sprint (S) phone on MetroPCS’ network. Goldman’s Scott Malat thinks that drove 10%-20% of new subscriber additions during Q3.
Late last month, MetroPCS and Leap Wireless (LEAP), a company offering similar wireless service in different markets, announced a 10-year roaming agreement and an agreement to exchange wireless spectrum. Conventional wisdom is that the companies will still merge at some point — Leap turned down MetroPCS’ first bid last summer — but the deal provides benefits in the meantime.
MetroPCS (PCS) will start offering its service in Boston and New York in the first half of 2009. It reports Q3 earnings on Nov. 5.
Shares dropped 2.2% to $14.30 — not bad, as the Dow was down 4.8% and the Nasdaq down 6.2% at the same time.