Sprint CEO: You Try Fighting the iPhone On Two Carriers
The debut of the iPhone on Verizon in January didn’t harm Sprint quite as much as some had feared. The company managed to add 1.1 million net wireless subscribers in its first quarter, reducing the churn that has plagued it for longer than anyone cares to remember.
While Sprint did lose contract subscribers–114,000 of them–that loss was significantly less than the 464,000 it lost in the first quarter of 2010. Meanwhile, churn fell to 1.81 percent from 2.15 percent (finally time to retire the “hemorrhaging subscribers like Dan Ackroyd’s exsanguinating Julia Child” analogy, I guess)
Sprint’s revenue for the quarter rose about 3 percent to $8.3 billion, surpassing analyst expectations of $8.19 billion. And its loss narrowed to $439 million, or 15 cents a share, from $865 million, or 29 cents, a year earlier. That beat expectations as well. The Street had been looking for Sprint to lose 22 cents.
Not bad, all things considered. As CEO Dan Hesse noted during this morning’s earnings call, being the No. 3 carrier in a market in which the No. 1 and No. 2 carriers both have the iPhone isn’t easy.
“We do typically see a significant impact upon the launch of a new device, or in this case, the iPhone 4 on a new carrier, Verizon,” Hesse said. “The iPhone continues to be a competitive threat to us, first in the hands of AT&T and now in the hands of Verizon….Quarter after quarter, the iPhone is a successful device and one that provides very strong competition to Sprint. Needless to say, Verizon’s introduction of their new iPhone this past quarter had a notable impact on our net add performance for the quarter.”