MetroPCS reports lower 4Q subscriber growth

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DALLAS (AP) — MetroPCS Communications Inc., which provides prepaid wireless service, said Tuesday it added 317,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter of last year.

That’s down nearly 39 percent from net additions of 520,000 in the same quarter a year ago. “Churn,” or customer turnover, was up to 5.3 percent from 5.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The company ended the year with just over 6.6 million subscribers, up from 5.4 million at the end of 2008.

Full-year net additions totaled 1.3 million, just ahead of the company’s November forecast of 1 million to 1.2 million. That was cut, however, from an original estimate of 1.4 million to 1.7 million.

The lowered expectations came because of economic weakness in the U.S. and intensifying competition in the wireless business.