Still, the quarter's numbers were quite positive. The subscriber base continued to grow to12.4 million, up 9% year over year. The net growth in subscribers was 195,000, down 13% sequentially due to higher churn of 1.7%. This was most likely caused by a $3-per-month price hike in some of the popular packages. Consequently, we have solid growth in revenues, up 17% to $2.4 billion, and EBITDA, up 10% to $613 million.
Bulls for the company argue that cable companies' all-in-one packages are similar to the financial supermarkets of yesterday, when financial-services companies were sucked into the argument that they had to offer everything -- banking, insurance, brokerages, and credit cards -- to capture the financial version of a "quadruple play." But that model was largely a bust, since consumers have tended to shop the best value for each offering rather than stick with one provider. Will cable suffer the same fate? I have my doubts.
For one thing, Comcast
The U.S wireless auction for the spectrum is expected to raise as much as $15 billion, reminding this Fool of the disastrous European wireless auctions in 2000, where billions were spent -- and telecom companies nearly bankrupted, when the bills came due. Let's hope saner heads prevail this time around, despite the obvious competitive pressures.
Given cable companies' very real threat to satellite subscriber growth, and the poor competitive positioning for the satellite companies when it comes to expanding from a single play to a double play for wireless broadband, investors should take note. The market has flatlined the stock for several years for good reason. Until the satellite companies can expand their offerings successfully, it may be best be a Dish subscriber, not an investor.
More satellite Foolishness: