Sprint: Fewer Dropped Calls, Callers
The Palm Pre has proven a far better curative for the handset maker than for Sprint, its exclusive carrier. Certainly, the Pre doesn’t appear to have done much to reverse Sprint’s decline.
Reporting second-quarter earnings this morning (release, investor presentation), Sprint (S) posted a loss of $384 million, or 13 cents a share as customers defected to rival carriers. Revenue tumbled 10 percent to $8.14 billion.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of two cents on revenue of $8.13 billion.
A nasty miss, and one made worse by the loss of 991,000 subscribers in the crucial postpaid category. This after the troubled wireless carrier lost more than one million postpaids in the first quarter of 2009 and 1.27 million in the quarter prior to that. Sprint’s total subscriber count today: 48.8 million. As I said earlier this year, Sprint is hemorrhaging subscribers like Dan Ackroyd’s exsanguinating Julia Child.
And the Pre hasn’t done much to stanch the bleeding, though CEO Dan Hesse says Palm’s (PALM) smartphone has helped some. “In the second quarter, we made further progress on our efforts to enhance financial stability, improve the customer experience and reinvigorate the brand,” he said in a statement. “The widespread visibility surrounding our record-breaking June launch of the Palm Pre handset gave us an unprecedented opportunity to showcase these improvements to customers as ‘a new Sprint.’”
Indeed. Too bad so few people seem to be interested in them.
During a conference call with analysts, Hesse suffered a barrage of questions about the Pre, its sales and how Sprint is faring against the iPhone 3GS. He declined to provide sales figures for the Pre and said only that its introduction has helped stave off customer churn. “I don’t want you to think there’s no impact from the iPhone,” he said. “It’s a successful device, but we’ve mitigated the impact with a strong device lineup.”