Sprint: Tourniquet, Please…
Discussing the latest in Sprint Nextel’s sad little parade of earnings announcements with analysts this morning, CEO Dan Hesse said the company has “yet to turn the corner” on the road to recovery.
Looking over the company’s financials today, I’d say the corner to which he refers isn’t even in sight yet. If anything, Sprint (S) appears to be heading down one of those bleak midwestern straightaways–in this case, jammed with the traffic of its fleeing subscribers. In its third quarter, Sprint Nextel failed to even meet Wall Street’s much diminished expectations. It reported an operating loss of $326 million, pushing its net losses to more than $1.1 billion for the year.
Worse, the company said it lost 1.3 million customers in the third quarter. And that is truly ugly news for Sprint, which has been hemorrhaging subscribers like Dan Ackroyd’s exsanguinating Julia Child. In the past two years, the carrier has lost almost four million customers. And try as it might to reverse that trend, it seems destined only to shed more. Being ranked as the carrier with the lowest customer satisfaction in a survey by J.D. Power & Associates isn’t exactly going to send new subscribers flocking to Sprint.
“Sprint, at this point, is clearly a show-me story, and I’d like to see tangible evidence that the company is successfully executing,” Stanford Group analyst Michael Nelson told Bloomberg. “We’re not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.”
Shares of Sprint are plumbing the lower depths at $3.30 as I write this, down 10.33 percent.