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Alamosa gains 79 percent in IPO

Alamosa (Nasdaq: APCS), part of the Sprint PCS Network, jumped 13 1/2 to 30 1/2, or 79 percent in its market debut Thursday. The company had priced 10.7 million shares at $17 each, well above an estimated price range of $13 to $15 per share.

The Lubbock, Texas-based company provides wireless communications in the U.S. Southwest and Midwest. Salomon Smith Barney is the deal's lead underwriter, with CS First Boston and DB Alex Brown acting as co-managers.

Airgate PCS (Nasdaq: PCSA), another Sprint (NYSE: PCS) network affiliate, fared modestly in its September IPO, closing up 9 13/16 to 26 13/16 after pricing 6.7 million shares at $17 each. The stock has continued to climb since, and was up 8 3/8 to 75, or 13 percent Thursday.

For the nine months ended September 30, Alamosa had net loss of $17.7 million on revenue of $2 million

In filings, the company cited its substantial debt -- a total of $157.2 million as of December 31, under Nortel (NYSE: NT) financing -- as a risk to investors. The company also said that, as it doesn't own any licenses to operate a wireless network, its business depends on its agreement with Sprint PCS.

Alamosa competes in the wireless communications services industry with providers such as Nextel Communications (Nasdaq: NXTL), AT&T Wireless Services (NYSE: T), and the company that will result from the pending merger between Bell Atlantic (NYSE: BEL) and GTE Corp (NYSE: GTE). It also competes with regional wireless providers such as VoiceStream Wireless (Nasdaq: VSTR) and the company that will result from the pending merger between SBC Communications Inc (NYSE: SBC) and Ameritech.