Wireless cable operators continued to show increased losses
in their second-quarter financial results, released this month.
Dallas-based Heartland Wireless Communications Inc., the
largest wireless cable operator, reported a second-quarter net loss of $50.6 million,
compared with $35.8 million for the quarter in 1997. Revenue at Heartland dipped to $18.6
million for the quarter, down from $19.7 million for the same quarter last year.
Heartland's cash-flow results improved, though, to a
loss of $1.5 million in the quarter, largely due to slashed costs, as the company, like
other wireless operators, shifts over from analog television to high-speed-data
Carroll McHenry, chairman and CEO of Heartland, said this
marks the first decline in revenues since he came on board last year. "We continue to
make incremental improvements to our financial structure," he said.
McHenry admitted that Heartland has been late in getting
its core video business growing again, due in part to an inability to recruit and train a
substantial sales force. A tight job market makes recruiting new sales staff difficult to
begin with, McHenry said, but it's made tougher because Heartland is a public
company, and potential employees know that it has had a rough track record in the past two
Once Heartland starts marketing its DirecTv Inc. service
more aggressively, McHenry believes that the company can attract a larger sales force.
Heartland has signed up 300 DirecTv customers, and it has a backlog of another 600,
Shelton, Conn.-based People's Choice TV Corp. saw a
net loss of $39 million for the quarter ended June 30, compared with $31.8 million for the
same period last year. The company posted second-quarter revenues of $7.019 million for
the quarter, down from $8.83 million in last year's second quarter.
PCTV's cash-flow loss in the quarter rose to $4
million from $1.7 million in the same period a year ago.
PCTV lost more than 12,000 subscribers in the past year, as
it, too, scales back its analog business. The operator has also been raising cash by
selling off multiple-dwelling-unit subscribers to private-cable firms, such as OnePoint
Wireless One Inc. of Jackson, Miss., reported a net loss
for the quarter of $21.3 million, compared with $20.7 million in last year's second
quarter. Wireless One cut its cash-flow loss in the quarter to $1.5 million from $4.2
million a year ago, as revenue rose and operating costs shrunk.
Wireless One said its quarterly revenue rose 19 percent,
from $8.3 million to $9.9 million. The company credited the increase in revenues to price
increases on its basic and premium-television services.
Wireless One said, though, that it needs to raise more
cash, and it may have to "curtail" its DirecTv MDU service if it doesn't.