John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Sprint: Even Fewer Dropped Calls, Callers

ackroyd_juliachild_preGood thing Sprint expects to lose fewer customers this quarter. Because if the company continues to lose them at its former rate–well, things are going to get even uglier.

Reporting a wider third-quarter loss than expected this morning, Sprint (S) said it lost 545,000 wireless customers and 801,000 more in the crucial postpaid category. That’s well below what analysts had feared, but brutal nonetheless. Even more so considering that AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless (VZ) added two million and 1.2 million total customers respectively during their latest quarters.

As I said earlier this year, Sprint is hemorrhaging subscribers like Dan Ackroyd’s exsanguinating Julia Child. And it continues to do so. The company’s churn rate, or the measure of subscribers dropping service, was 2.17 percent, up from 2.05 percent in the second quarter. Alarming, to say the least, though as the charts below (click to enlarge) indicate, the bleeding is slowing a bit.

sprint

And what of Sprint’s financial performance for the quarter? Well, put it this way: The company lost nearly half a billion dollars. For the three months ending Sept. 30, Sprint lost $478 million, or 17 cents a share. This compares with a loss of $326 million, or 11 cents a share, during the same period in 2008.

Analysts had been expecting a loss of 21 cents a share for the quarter. Revenue was $8.04 billion, down nine percent from $8.82 billion last year and below consensus estimates of $8.09 billion for the quarter.

In other words, another tough quarter for Sprint. Said Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett: “The results illustrate the enormous challenge facing Sprint. Many of the cost cuts have already been taken. Their best exclusive handset has been deployed. And still, the rock rolls downhill.”


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