) reported $0.04 VS. $0.03 third-quarter earnings per share (excluding charges). Kaufman Bros. raised its rating on the shares to buy from hold.
Analyst Vik Grover tells Standard & Poor's MarketScope that the strong results include 201,000 net subscriber additions and EBITDA of $1.07 billion (up 5% sequentially, and better than his $911 million estimate). He says net additions were impacted by roughly 300,000 WorldCom disconnects, but thinks exposure to WorldCom is now largely behind the company. Grover thinks the completion of the company's GSM/GPRS overlay and the shuttering of legacy CDPD networks provide the path toward revenue growth, launch of international roaming agreements, and improved network efficiencies and profitability metrics. He raised his $0.05 2002 loss per share estimate to $0.02 EPS, and his $0.02 2003 loss forecast to $0.14 EPS. The analyst also set a $9 price target on the shares.