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MetroPCS 4Q net income tumbled 65 pct

DALLAS (AP) -- Cellphone company MetroPCS Communications Inc. said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter net income tumbled 65 percent, hurt by a drop in subscribers.

The Dallas-based low-cost carrier earned $32 million, or 9 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31, down from $91 million, or 25 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Excluding charges related to its pending combination with T-Mobile USA, MetroPCS said it posted an adjusted profit of 11 cents per share.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $1.28 billion from $1.24 billion, but included a 3 percent drop in service revenue to $1.1 billion.

The adjusted earnings beat average Wall Street predictions by a penny, while the revenue matched them. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 10 cents per share on $1.28 billion in revenue.

MetroPCS lost about 93,000 customers during the quarter, compared with the addition of about 197,000 subscribers in the year-ago period. It ended the quarter with 8.9 million subscribers, down 5 percent from the end of the 2011 period.

Churn, or the percentage of customers who left, fell by 10 basis points to 3.6 percent.

For the full year 2012, MetroPCS earned $394 million, or $1.07 per share, up from $301 million, or 82 cents per share, in 2011. Revenue rose to $5.1 billion from $4.85 billion.

MetroPCS also said Tuesday that its combination with T-Mobile is progressing well and expected to close in early April.

MetroPCS shares fell 6 cents to $9.70 in morning trading Tuesday. Its shares have traded in a 52-week range of $5.53 to $14.51.