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ATNI: Still growing in Guyana but Bermuda falls short again

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

ATNI's wireless networks in Bermuda and Guyana experienced differing fortunes in Q3 2007. Bermuda Digital Communications (BDC) continued to shed customers, losing a further 576 in the quarter to finish on 20,155. This was the fourth successive quarterly decline, with a total loss of 2,300 customers since the end of Q3 2006, representing a 10.2% reduction in the total customer base.

Market share on the North Atlantic island is almost equally split between the three networks - BDC, Mobility and Digicel - but BDC's decline has seen it slip from the market-leading position it occupied at the end of Q3 2006. In Guyana, on the other hand, ATNI's subsidiary Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) remains the country's largest operator despite the challenge of Digicel Guyana, which launched in February having taken over Cel*Star Guyana's network. At around 770k, the population of Guyana is over ten times larger than that of Bermuda, and GT&T's customer base was over ten times the size of ATNI's Bermudan operation at the end of Q3 2007. Moreover, GT&T has recorded solid growth in the past 12 months, its total customer base having increased by 26.4% to 330k - an improvement on the 19.2% annual growth rate recorded at the same point in 2006. On a quarterly basis, net additions of 25k represented growth of 8.2%, an encouraging turnaround following Q2's loss of 5k customers.

In total, there were 69k new connections since the end of Q3 2006.

Because of the relative scale of the two operations, BDC's poor performance has not had a significant impact on the size of ATNI's total wireless customer base, which increased by 23.5% to 350k at the end of Q3 2007, with total net additions standing at 67k in the year. This represents an improvement on the performance recorded in the 12 months to the end of Q3 2006, when the total customer base grew by 17.4% and net additions stood at 42k.

In terms of ATNI's financial performance, quarterly revenue from wireless operations was $21.5m, up 25.8% since the third quarter of 2006, almost double the growth rate for total revenues (13.6%). This quarterly figure includes revenues from wireless businesses in the US, but not those from BDC, which are recorded separately as 'equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates'. This allows us to assess BDC's financial performance in isolation, and perhaps unsurprisingly given the loss of customers, revenues are down 5.6% year-on-year to $0.67m.

ATNI: Quarterly Growth Rates, BDC and GT&T, Q4 05 -Q3 07

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Tags: digicel  Guyana  Bermuda