Charter‘s 1mlnth phone sub, a 10.6% increase in revenue and 12.6% increase in adjusted EBITDA couldn’t push the MSO’s stock much above the $1 mark where it continues to hover. While phone drove $1.55bln in rev and $563mln in cash flow, the operator lost 66K analog customers in 4Q. "We’re encouraged by the performance in markets more highly penetrated with telephone, as both video and high-speed benefit from the value inherent to the bundle," CEO Neil Smit said during the company’s earnings call Wed. DBS continues to be Charter’s biggest competitor, with Verizon and AT&T video only overlapping about 5-6% of its footprint, according to execs. Smit repeatedly called on the potential phone has to drive bundles for Charter, noting that markets with double-digit phone penetration only accounted for about a quarter of the full year analog sub loss. "With about half our telephone footprint yet to reach double-digit penetration, we believe there is significant opportunity for all 3 products," he said. 85% of Charter’s footprint should have phone by year-end. Charter recorded 155K net phone adds in 4Q, a 46% increase over a year ago and its highest phone sub gain ever. Charter added 51K HSD subs and 60K digital video subs. On the horizon is DOCSIS 3.0 testing throughout the year and the expanded rollout of switched digital (currently being trialed in L.A.). Smith said switched should be rolled out to most of Charter’s footprint by the end of ’09. On tap for ’08 is increased spending on targeted marketing efforts, although Smith said cap ex spending for the year should be flat with ’07. Charter shares closed down Wed 4.6% at $1.03.

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