Dobson Communications: Key 4Q Operating Metrics Are Trending Ahead of Guidance

Strong Growth Expected to Continue in 2001

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, UNITED STATES


OKLAHOMA CITY, Dec. 19, 2000 (PRIMEZONE) -- Dobson Communications Corporation (Nasdaq:DCEL) today announced that key fourth quarter operating metrics are trending ahead of the Company's previous guidance. On November 10, the Company discussed its expectations for the fourth quarter on a proportionate, pro forma basis, reflecting the full-quarter impact of its Georgia 1 acquisition and its 50 percent ownership in American Cellular.

Gross subscriber additions for the fourth quarter are expected to be above the guided range of 95,000 to 105,000, on a proportionate, pro forma basis. Customer churn is trending toward the low end of the range of 2.0 percent to 2.3 percent. As a result, net subscriber additions should exceed the guided range of 45,000 to 50,000. The Company attributed the stronger than expected performance in these three metrics to strong holiday sales, continued strengthening in demand for digital products and services, and progress in dealing with the churn issues that impacted Dobson's third quarter results.

Total revenues for the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2000 are now expected to be at the top of the previously guided range of $180 million to $190 million, compared with $155.3 million in the fourth quarter of 1999. Average revenue per unit (ARPU) is now expected to be at the low end of the guided range of $39 to $41, compared with $40 for the fourth quarter last year.

EBITDA is expected to be below the guided range of approximately $70 million to $75 million, primarily because gross subscriber additions are exceeding the expected range. EBITDA represents earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, equity in earnings of unconsolidated subsidiaries, loss from discontinued operations, and extraordinary items.

Depreciation and amortization costs are running in line with the previous guidance ranges, as are interest costs.

Fiscal 2001 Outlook


 The Company also announced that it expects this year's growth trends
 to be maintained through 2001: 
 
 -- Growth in both service and roaming revenues of 16-to-18 percent over
   fiscal 2000, with service ARPU (average revenue per unit) stable
   on a year-over-year basis; 
 
 -- EBITDA growth of 16-to-18 percent, in line with the increase in
    revenues;
 
 -- Further increases in depreciation and amortization costs and
    interest costs, primarily due the full-year effects of year-2000
    acquisitions, capital expenditures and other growth-related
    financings;
 
 -- Customer churn in a range of 2.0 percent to 2.25 percent;
 
 -- Net adds for fiscal 2001 in a range of 162,000 to 172,000; and
 
 -- Capital expenditures in a range of approximately $100 million to
    $130 million at Dobson standalone, and capital expenditures in a
    range of $85 million to $110 million in the American Cellular
    properties, roughly in line with the expected totals for the
    current year.

No Conference Call

Due to disclosure concerns related to its participation in the Federal Communications Commission C and F Block Broadband PCS Spectrum Auction, Dobson has chosen not to conduct a conference call at this time to discuss its updated guidance on the fourth quarter and its outlook for 2001.

Dobson Communications is a leading provider of cellular phone services to rural markets in the United States. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the rapidly growing Company owns or manages wireless operations in 19 states. For additional information on the Company and its operations, please visit its Web site at www.dobson.net.

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the Company's plans, intentions and expectations. Such statements are inherently subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. These risks include increased levels of competition, shortages of cellular handsets and other key equipment, restrictions on the Company's ability to finance its growth, any market changes that would significantly decrease consumer demand for wireless products, and other factors. A more extensive discussion of the risk factors that could impact these areas and the Company's overall business and financial performance can be found in the Company's reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Given these concerns, investors and analysts should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.



        

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