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Cingular posts Q4 loss

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US mobile network Cingular lost of $497m on revenues of $7.1bn for the fourth quarter of 2004 ended 31 December. The figures include cash from AT&T Wireless, which was acquired during the quarter.

Average revenue per user was down slightly at $49.22 - down 5.8 per cent on the same period a year ago. The firm blamed lower-priced GSM contracts and the popularity of its FamilyTalk discount scheme for the fall.

But it said the merger with AT&T Wireless was going well. Cingular President and CEO Stan Sigman said: "The merger is working, and it is everything we hoped it would be. The new Cingular is off to a very strong start...I'm particularly pleased that have churn in the right direction right out of the gate."

Pro forma average monthly churn was down to 2.6 per cent. Cingular is changing the way it calculates churn to exclude reseller disconnects - churn would have been 2.4 per cent using the new method.

Cingular had 49.1m mobile subscribers at the end of the period - it added 1.8m new subscribers on a pro forma basis.

Revenue from data services grew to $2.89, up from $1.75 in the third quarter of 2004.

Cingular created a Business Markets Group to target corporate customers - it claims 80 per cent of Fortune 500 companies as customers. It continues to expand its 3G network - Cingular and Lucent recently made the first data calls on its UMTS network in Atlanta. ®

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