Telus Mobility has taken the unusual step of releasing some key wireless metrics ahead of its May 7 first-quarter subscriber and financial-results conference call and the picture isn’t pretty. The company saw net subscriber additions drop by 46% year over year, increasing its overall subscriber base by just 48,000 customers compared to 88,000 in the first quarter of 2008. “Weakness in wireless net subscriber additions in the first quarter of 2009 is primarily attributable to the combination of a lack of customary growth in gross additions combined with an increase in deactivations,” Telus noted in a statement. Net subscriber addition numbers were low despite similar gross wireless additions of 346,000 compared to 345,000 in Q1 2008. However, gross additions were down significantly when compared to figures for the fourth quarter and year end in 2008 at 4.8% and 17%, respectively. “The worsening trend is believed to be primarily due to the weakening Canadian economy including: lower consumer confidence and a resulting decrease in retail sales including customer deferral of buying decisions; lower and more cautious business spending; and lower employment levels,” the statement added. Just as Telus Mobility took a hit on subscriber growth, average revenue per user (ARPU) suffered a significant decline compared to the previous year’s Q1, dropping by more than 5% from $61.88 in Q1 2008 to $58.39 in this year’s first quarter. Lower revenue from the company’s Mike line of business; an increased proportion and use of lower per minute rate plans including greater use of in-bucket minutes; and decreased roaming revenues were all factors that led to the drop in ARPU according to Telus Mobility.