GCI Reports First Quarter 2015 Financial Results

May 5, 2015

Download financials PDF »

Consolidated Revenue Of $231 Million Adjusted EBITDA OF $82 Million Before Transition Costs

Anchorage, Alaska – General Communication, Inc. (“GCI”) (NASDAQ: GNCMA) today reported financial and operational performance for the first quarter of 2015.

Significant Recent Events

  • Closed on the Alaska Wireless Network (AWN) transaction
  • Refinanced $425 million in bonds
  • Successfully transitioned former ACS wireless customers onto the Company's customer care and billing system on April 12th 

Consolidated revenues for the first quarter of 2015 were $231 million, an increase of $15 million or seven percent when compared to the first quarter of 2014, and an increase of $2 million or one percent over the fourth quarter of 2014. This growth is attributable to continued strong growth in high speed data service as well as growth in wireless.

Adjusted EBITDA before one-time transition costs for the quarter were $82 million, an increase of $7 million or ten percent compared with the first quarter of 2014 and $11 million or 16 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2014. One-time transition costs associated with the AWN transaction noted above were approximately $7 million during the quarter.

“I am pleased with the Company’s performance during the quarter,” said Ron Duncan, GCI’s president and chief executive officer. “Revenue and EBITDA growth were strong, driven by outperformance in data and wireless. In addition, the Company achieved a significant milestone with the closing of the AWN transaction and the smooth transition of the acquired ACS wireless customers. I am proud of the effort put in by the transition team. We also made improvements in our capital structure by refinancing a large portion of our high yield debt, which reduced annual interest expense and extended the Company’s debt maturities.”

Operating Statistical Highlights

1Q15 1Q14 4Q14
Wireless Subscribers 238,600 142,400 149,600
Wireless ARPU $48.23 $50.01 $50.16
Cable Modem Subscribers 135,800 130,400 133,200
Data ARPU $83.93 $75.93 $83.01

The large increase in wireless subscribers was driven by the acquisition of the ACS wireless customer base as well as growth in the underlying GCI base. Cable modem growth and ARPU increases continue to be driven by the popularity of GCI’s new pricing plans and faster download speeds. Wireless ARPU has declined largely due to the growing adoption by customers of GCI’s new “bring your own device” plans and bundling discounts.

Operating and Financial Highlights


The Wireless segment posted revenues of $59 million for the quarter, representing a five percent decline over the first quarter of 2014 and a four percent decline over the fourth quarter of 2014. The decrease in revenue was related to a simplification in how we internally allocate revenues between segments, which became possible after the AWN transaction. Total wireless revenues between the wireless and wireline segments actually grew on both a year-over-year and sequential basis by $7 million and $6 million respectively. Approximately $4 million of that growth was due to the success of “bring your own device” plans with handset financing. 

The Wireless segment revenue detail is as follows:

($ millions) 1Q15 1Q14 4Q14
Wholesale wireless 21 25 25
Roaming and Backhaul 24 25 23
USF Support 14 13 14
Total Wireless Revenue 59 63 62
Wireless segment adjusted EBITDA was $37 million for the quarter, a decrease of $1 million or two percent over the first quarter of 2014, but a sequential increase of $5 million or 14 percent over the fourth quarter of 2014. But for the election of the wireline segment to not take handset subsidies in the first quarter of 2014 of approximately $5 million, Wireless EBITDA would have been up $4 million on a year-over-year basis.

Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was improved by a decrease in roaming costs, primarily due to better management of permanent and high roaming customers, and a decrease in distribution and capacity costs.


The Wireline segment posted revenues of $172 million, an $18 million or 12 percent increase over the first quarter of 2014 and a $5 million or three percent increase over the prior quarter.

Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $45 million before one-time transition costs of $7 million. That compares favorably with $38 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 and approximately $42 million in the first quarter of 2014 adjusted for the handset subsidies. 

Wireline – Consumer:

Consumer revenues were $85 million for the quarter, a year-over-year increase of $15 million or twenty one percent, and a sequential increase of $8 million or 11 percent.

Revenue growth has been driven in part by growth in high speed data products, which continue to grow year-over-year at a double digit rate. The quarter included the addition of 2,600 cable modem subscribers, and an increase in ARPU, reflecting the popularity of GCI’s market-leading high speed data product, re:D.

Consumer wireless also showed consistent growth, even after taking into account the acquisition of the ACS wireless subscriber base. In addition to the ACS subscribers acquired, the Company added 2,000 new consumer wireless subscribers.

GCI has seen growing adoption of the consumer wireless plans that incorporate equipment installment plans and shared data. For the quarter GCI had $4 million in net financed handset revenue.

Wireline – Business Services:

Business Services revenues, which includes broadcast and cable advertising revenues, were $53 million for the quarter, representing a slight increase over the first quarter of 2014 and a $5 million or nine percent sequential decline. 

On a sequential basis, there was a $6 million decline in video revenues, driven in large part by a decline in advertising revenues after a robust political season in 2014.

Wireline – Managed Broadband:

Managed Broadband revenues were $34 million for the quarter, representing a $3 million or nine percent increase year-over-year and a $2 million or five percent increase sequentially.  

The FCC recently increased the nationwide funding cap for the federal E-Rate program, from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion, stabilizing support for many of Managed Broadband’s school and library customers.

Significant Events

On April 12, 2015, GCI transitioned the former ACS wireless customers to its billing and customer care platform.  The reaction has been positive.  Since last fall, GCI has increased its customer service, front line sales and support staff by 165 full time positions.

On April 1st GCI closed on $450 million in senior unsecured notes, with a 6.875 percent coupon maturing in 2025. These notes replace the Company’s 8.625% 2019 bonds, providing cash interest savings of approximately $5 million per year. The company’s capital structure is now in a more secure position, with 80 percent of the debt maturities’ occurring in five or more years.

Capital expenditures for the quarter totaled $37 million, in line with expectations.

During the quarter, GCI repurchased 1.1 million shares of its Class A common stock, at a cost of $16.1 million. 

Over the past two years, GCI’s Cycle30 subsidiary has been working on the development of a next-generation billing platform to serve the needs of quadruple-play providers like GCI.  After a detailed assessment earlier this year, GCI elected to wind down the development effort because of scope, schedule, and budget risks.  GCI has also decided to stop marketing a machine-to-machine billing platform developed by Cycle30.  These actions will result in an aggregate write-off of $26.4 million.  Cycle30’s day-to-day operations have been reintegrated into GCI, and GCI is proceeding with an RFP to select a proven, packaged billing solution to meet its needs, and is continuing to seek ways to simplify plans and processes to benefit the eventual billing conversion.


GCI today announced the following guidance for 2015 financial performance:

  • Revenues will be in the range of $920 – 970 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA will be in the range of $310 – 335 million, which excludes one-time costs for the transition of ACS wireless customers and network assets to GCI.
  • Core capital expenditures will be approximately $170 million, of which approximately $45 million will be on wireless network projects, and approximately $85 million will be on other network and infrastructure projects.  

Conference Call

The Company will hold a conference call to discuss the financial results on Wednesday, May 6th, at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern). To access the call, call the conference operator between 1:50-2:00 p.m. (Eastern) at 800-779-5739 (International callers should dial +1-203-827-7046) and identify your call as “GCI”.

In addition to dial-up access, GCI will make available net conferencing. To access the call via net conference, log on to gci.com and follow the instructions.

A replay of the call will be available for 72-hours by dialing 866-359-6494, access code 7461 (International callers should dial +1-203-369-0151).

Forward-­Looking Statement Disclosure

The foregoing contains forward-looking statements regarding GCI’s expected results that are based on management’s expectations as well as on a number of assumptions concerning future events. Actual results might differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements due to uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside GCI’s control. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements is contained in GCI’s cautionary statement sections of Forms 10-K and 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

About GCI

GCI is the largest Alaska-­based and –operated, integrated telecommunications provider, offering wireless, voice, data, and video services statewide. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com.

Tom Chesterman

David Morris