Sprint Still Bleeding Subscribers
Sprint’s massive deal with Japan’s SoftBank really couldn’t have come at a better time. As its latest financials show, the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier remains awash in red ink, and is bleeding customers.
Reporting third-quarter earnings Thursday morning, Sprint said it lost $767 million, or 26 cents a share, compared with a loss of $301 million, or 10 cents a share, a year earlier. While that’s better than the deeper loss of 42 cents a share analysts had forecast, it’s ugly just the same. Net operating revenue for the period was $8.76 billion, an improvement over the $8.33 billion Sprint managed during the third quarter last year. Analysts had been looking for revenue of around $8.8 billion.
And Sprint continues to lose subscribers. The carrier today said it suffered a net customer decline of 456,000 in the third quarter. That’s worse than the loss of 361,000 analysts had expected, and far worse than the loss of 246,000 customers it posted in the year-earlier period. That said, Sprint did add 410,000 net postpaid customers in the quarter. So a bit of good news there.
The company sold 1.5 million iPhones during the quarter. That’s nowhere near the 4.7 million sold by AT&T and 3.1 million sold by Verizon during their third quarters. But, according to Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, it’s enough to keep the carrier on track to satisfy its $15.5 billion purchase agreement with Apple.
At $5.59, Sprint shares are down .62 percent in early trading.