updated 11/4/2010 8:46:05 PM ET 2010-11-05T00:46:05

MIDDLETOWN, R.I., Nov. 4, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Towerstream (Nasdaq:TWER), a leading 4G service provider delivering high-speed wireless Internet access to businesses in 11 major metropolitan areas in the U.S., announced results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2010.

Third Quarter Operating Highlights

  • Revenues increased 34% to $5.1 million during the third quarter 2010 compared to the same period last year and increased 4% compared to the second quarter 2010
  • Gross margin remained strong at 75% during the third quarter 2010
  • Adjusted Market EBITDA profitability increased to $2.7 million in the third quarter 2010 as compared to $2.4 million for the second quarter 2010 and $1.6 million for the third quarter 2009
  • Adjusted EBITDA profitability totaled $0.4 million for the third quarter 2010 compared to $0.05 million for the second quarter 2010 and an Adjusted EBITDA loss of $0.5 million for the third quarter 2009
  • Customer churn for the third quarter 2010 was 1.60% compared to 1.15% during the second quarter 2010 and 1.71% during the third quarter 2009
  • Chicago market revenues for the third quarter 2010 increased 15% compared to the second quarter 2010 and almost doubled compared to the third quarter 2009, reflecting completion of the Sparkplug acquisition in the second quarter of 2010

Management Comments

"We are pleased with the mix of organic and post acquisition growth during the quarter," stated Jeff Thompson, Chief Executive Officer. "Our Los Angeles market reported 11% sequential organic revenue growth over the second quarter of 2010 and 69% revenue growth compared to the third quarter of 2009. Our Chicago market posted a 15% sequential revenue increase as customer interest surged following completion of the Sparkplug acquisition in the second quarter."

"Our Smartphone Backhaul program continues to progress with the initiation of pilot trials with potential strategic revenue partners," added Mr. Thompson. "We believe that carriers will seek multiple solutions to address network capacity issues associated with exploding demand from smartphones, tablets, and other devices."

"We are pleased to report strong sequential growth in Adjusted EBITDA profitability," stated Joseph Hernon, Chief Financial Officer. "Our Adjusted EBITDA loss improved for nine consecutive quarters prior to our reaching Adjusted EBITDA profitability in the second quarter 2010. We are confident that the predictability of our monthly recurring revenue model and our ability to add customers to our network at low marginal costs will result in similar consistent improvements in Adjusted EBITDA profitability going forward."

Analysis of Results of Operations and Financial Condition

Third Quarter 2010 Results of Operations

Revenues for the third quarter 2010 increased 4% from the second quarter 2010 and increased 34% compared to the third quarter 2009. These increases were driven by 44% growth in our customer base from approximately 1,800 customers at the end of the third quarter 2009 to approximately 2,600 at the end of the third quarter 2010.

ARPU of new customers decreased 1% in the third quarter 2010 compared to the second quarter 2010 and increased 1% compared to the third quarter 2009. 

ARPU of all customers in the third quarter 2010 decreased less than 1% compared to the second quarter 2010 and decreased 8% compared to the third quarter 2009. The decrease in ARPU of all customers compared to the third quarter 2009 related to the Sparkplug acquisition, which had the effect of lowering our post acquisition ARPU, and also reflects the adverse effect of the long economic recession on customer purchasing decisions.

Customer churn during the third quarter 2010 was 1.60% compared to 1.15% during the second quarter 2010 and 1.71% during the third quarter 2009. While our churn rate was higher on a sequential basis, it was within our targeted range of 1.4% to 1.7% and remains low compared to industry averages.

Gross margin remained stable at 75% in the third quarter 2010 compared to 75% for both the second quarter 2010 and third quarter 2009. 

Depreciation and amortization expenses increased 7% in the third quarter 2010 compared to the second quarter 2010 and increased 50% compared to the third quarter 2009. The increases are consistent with a higher base of depreciable assets primarily related to our network and customer premise equipment. Gross depreciable assets totaled $31.0 million at the end of the third quarter 2010 compared to $29.9 million and $25.3 million at the end of the second quarter 2010 and third quarter 2009, respectively. Amortization expense totaled $0.3 million in the third quarter 2010 and second quarter 2010, respectively, related to a customer contract based intangible asset recorded in connection with the Sparkplug acquisition which closed in April 2010.

Customer support expenses decreased 5% in the third quarter 2010 compared to the second quarter 2010 and increased 17% compared to the third quarter 2009. The increase compared to the third quarter 2009 reflected staffing additions and other costs incurred to support a customer base which increased 44% over the one year period. 

Sales and marketing expenses decreased 2% in the third quarter 2010 compared to the second quarter 2010 and decreased 7% compared to the third quarter 2009. The year-over-year improvement related to lower sales headcount which averaged 51 in the third quarter 2010 compared to 60 in the third quarter 2009. During 2009, the Company's sales and marketing strategy evolved towards the enhanced use of Internet-based marketing programs which has both increased qualified leads and enabled the Company to reduce headcount. Sales headcount includes direct sales which consists of account executives and sales managers.

General and administrative expenses decreased 8% in the third quarter 2010 compared to the second quarter 2010 and increased 6% compared to the third quarter 2009. The sequential decrease is attributable to higher professional services costs in the second quarter 2010, primarily related to the Sparkplug acquisition. The increase from third quarter 2009 is primarily related to higher payroll costs.

Net loss increased 6% in the third quarter 2010 compared to the second quarter 2010 and decreased 35% compared to the third quarter 2009. The sequential increase during the third quarter 2010 related to a gain on business acquisition of approximately $356,000 that was recorded in the second quarter 2010. The year-over-year improvement primarily related to a 34% increase in revenues partially offset by a 17% increase in operating expenses.

Capital expenditures totaled $1.1 million for the third quarter 2010 as compared to $1.8 million for the second quarter 2010 and $1.7 million for the third quarter 2009. During the second quarter 2010, we spent $0.6 million related to the construction of a smart phone offload network in New York City.

Operating Outlook and Guidance

  • Revenues for the fourth quarter 2010 are expected to range between $5.4 million to $5.5 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA profitability is expected to range between $0.5 million to $0.7 million

Non-GAAP Measures

The terms "Adjusted EBITDA," "Churn," "Churn rate," "ARPU," and "Market Cash Flow" are measurements used by Towerstream to monitor business performance and are not recognized measures under generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"). Accordingly, investors are cautioned in using or relying upon these measures as alternatives to recognized GAAP measures. Our methods of calculating these measures may differ from other issuers and, accordingly, may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers.

We focus on Adjusted EBITDA as a principal indicator of the operating performance of our business. EBITDA represents net income (loss) before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization. We define Adjusted EBITDA as net income (loss) before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization expenses, excluding, when applicable, stock-based compensation, other non-operating income or expenses as well as gain or loss on (i) disposal of property and equipment, (ii) derivative instruments, and (iii) business acquisitions. Adjusted Market EBITDA also excludes corporate overhead expenses and other centralized costs. We believe that Adjusted Market EBITDA trends are insightful indicators of our markets' relative performance, and whether our markets are able to produce sufficient market cash flow to fund working capital and capital expenditure needs.

The term "Core Operating Expenses" includes customer support services, sales and marketing, and general and administrative expenses, and excludes cost of revenues, depreciation and amortization.

The terms "Churn" and "Churn rate" refer to the percent of revenue lost on a monthly basis from customers disconnecting from our network or reducing the amount of their bandwidth. The term "ARPU" refers to the monthly average revenue per user, or customer, being generated from those customers under contract at the end of each indicated period. We calculate ARPU by dividing our monthly recurring revenue ("MRR") at the end of a period by the number of customers generating that MRR. ARPU of new customers is calculated in the same manner but only includes new customers who entered into contracts during the indicated period. Market Cash Flow represents the amount of cash generated in a market after deducting a market's direct operating expenses from that market's revenues. Market Cash Flow does not include (i) centralized costs which support all markets collectively or (ii) any network related capital expenditures incurred in a market.

The Non-GAAP measure, Adjusted EBITDA, has been reconciled to Net loss as follows:

Conference Call and Webcast

A conference call led by President and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Thompson, and Chief Financial Officer, Joseph Hernon, will be held on November 4, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. ET to review our financial results and provide an update on current business developments.

Interested parties may participate in the conference by dialing 877-755-7423 or 678-894-3069 (for international callers).  A telephonic replay of the conference may be accessed approximately two hours after the call through November 11, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. ET by dialing 800-642-1687 or 706-645-9291 (for international callers) using pass code 14733390.

The call will also be webcast and can be accessed in a listen-only mode on the Company's website at http://ir.towerstream.com/eventdetail.cfm?eventid=86611 .

About Towerstream Corporation

Towerstream is a leading 4G service provider in the U.S., delivering high-speed wireless Internet access to businesses. Founded in 2000, the Company has established networks in 11 markets including New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay area, Miami, Seattle, Dallas-Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Nashville and the greater Providence area where the Company is based. For more information, visit our website at www.towerstream.com or follow us on Twitter @Towerstream. The Towerstream Corporation logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=6570 .

Towerstream's wireless broadband solution network delivers high-speed Internet access supporting VoIP, bandwidth on demand, wireless redundancy, VPNs, disaster recovery, bundled data, and video services, and can be delivered in days. Unlike cable Internet and DSL, Towerstream connections are symmetrical, which means that the upload and download speeds are identical. This creates a more stable connection, suitable for VoIP and web hosting, as well as many other business applications. Companies utilizing multiple appliances simultaneously, such as streaming video and VoIP, can prioritize their bandwidth to secure mission-critical activities. All of Towerstream's products are backed by its Service Level Agreement (SLA) and the ability to be up and running within a week. 

Safe Harbor

Certain statements contained in this press release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of applicable federal securities laws, including, without limitation, anything relating or referring to future financial results and plans for future business development activities, and are thus prospective. Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified based on current expectations. Such risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, the risks and uncertainties set forth from time to time in reports filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Consequently, future events and actual results could differ materially from those set forth in, contemplated by, or underlying the forward-looking statements contained herein. The Company undertakes no obligation to correct or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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