Last week Alltel's corporate owner, Atlantic Tele-Network (ATN), reported their 3rd quarter financial results, and among the numbers was a drop in Alltel "retail" customers. Those are the people who use cellular service actually provided by Alltel, not those who are using an Alltel phone but are really Verizon Wireless customers. We expected a drop in Alltel customers but the news is not all bad.
While there are fewer Alltel customers, there are more people using ATN's networks. Along with the Comment Wireless network, Alltel's owners report a larger number of other wireless users roaming on ATN networks, and an increase in revenue as a result. While roaming isn't needed as much as it was before, wireless roamers are using more minutes and data which means more income for ATN.
Dare we say ATN might be better off without Alltel customers as long as they can receive the benefits of the Alltel network? Nah. Being a 'real' wireless carrier has lots of benefits, and there's the synergy with the other ATN wireless companies, including Choice Wireless, Commnet and several smaller ATN projects. This might explain that after ATN revealed their 'bad' economic news, the company's stock price went UP, and today received a new "Buy" rating from theStreet.com. Yep, we're still likin' Alltel, whether we can talk on it or not.