Southern Voices Answer Triton Calls

For a newcomer in the wireless telecom business, Triton PCS Holdings (TPCS ) is doing surprisingly well. It went public in October, 1999, at 18 a share and hit 49 on Nov. 15, 2000. Since then, the stock has seesawed between 45 and 33, where it now trades. But most of the 14 analysts who follow Triton see it reaching 60 this year. And all of them give it either a buy or a strong buy rating.

One reason: This provider of wireless phone services in the Southeast--including Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, covering 13 million potential customers--is ranked as the best operating company among 22 wireless carriers by Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown in its quarterly review in "penetration gain" (adding new customers), in revenue per subscriber, and in cash flow per subscriber. Triton's subscriber base has jumped from 195,201 customers last year to 446,401.

Among Triton's major shareholders: J.P. Morgan Chase, which owns 30% of the stock, and AT&T, which has a 17% stake. Triton has a co-branding pact with AT&T Wireless Services.

By Gene G. Marcial

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