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MetroPCS Eyes $1B IPO

Local wireless operator MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) is -- as expected -- gunning for a $1 billion initial public offering.

The Dallas-based operator says that it plans to sell 50 million shares at between $19 and $21 per share when it starts trading on the NYSE. The service provider's $1 billion float will be the largest wireless-related IPO yet seen this year. (See MetroPCS Files for IPO.)

The operator hasn't set a date for the float yet. Typically, companies set the pricing range for an IPO just a few weeks before it hits the market.

This year has already seen a couple of high-profile IPOs from big-name wireless startups. WiMax upstart Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) was one of the most-hyped IPOs of the year, and it turned out to be a damp squib. Enterprise wireless LAN player Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN) fared much better out of the gate with its $88 million float. (See Aruba's IPO Fillip and Clearwire's Bubble Bursts.)

MetroPCS is a far different company than either Aruba or Clearwire. The company offers flat-rate cellular contracts and operates in parts of California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Texas but has been acquiring spectrum to serve more large markets.

MetroPCS's rivals include all of the Big Five U.S. wireless carriers as well as similar low-cost operators such as Leap Wireless International Inc. (Nasdaq: LEAP)

MetroPCS started in 1994 as General Wireless but filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1998. The name change came after it emerged from Chapter 11 later that year.

This also isn't the first time that MetroPCS has attempted to go public. It filed for a $500 million flotation in the Spring of 2004, which was nixed in the summer of the same year because of a review of accounting issues.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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