Over at IPOHome.com, they've noted the first company IPO filing for 2007 and it looks like a dandy. Cellular operator MetroPCS Communications wants to raise $1.1 billion to expand its unusual mobile phone offerings after winning a whole bag of new licenses at the most recent Federal Communications Commission spectrum auction. Telecom was a hot area in the stock market in 2006, putting the MetroPCS deal in good position for going public and getting some first-day pop.
MetroPCS, based in Texas, has grown like a weed with a service that gives many consumers exactly what they want, a simple flat-rate for all monthly calls, minus what they don't, a lengthy contract with an onerous termination fee. With coverage in just a few areas of the country, particularly Miami, Atlanta and San Francisco, the company has 2.6 million customers, more than double what it had two years earlier.
And its coverage is rapidly expanding. At the end of September, the company had licenses to offer service to areas where 65 million people live. Service was live in areas where 36 million live. Since then, the company went live in November in northern florida and by mid-year will add service in Los Angeles. That will push the number of people in its service area to 53 million within 2 years, the company says. None of that even includes the licenses just bought which cover the east coast from Philadelphia to Boston, San Diego, Seattle and Las Vegas, among other locales.
Revenue in the first nine months of 2006 hit $1.09 billion, exceeding the company's revenue for all of 2005 and more than double what it collected in 2003. Net income has not followed the same path, but for reasons investors appreciate. MetroPCS took on a lot of debt to fund the purchase of more spectrum and its interest expense of $67 million in the first nine months of 2006 is triple what it paid two years earlier.
You'll have to wait and see on the valuation, however. None is included in the initial filing. There is at least one good comp, as Leap Wireless (Symbol: LEAP) has a similar model and its shares gained 58% last year. So be sure to dial in for more details when the company files its expected pricing range in coming weeks.