Sprint Nextel losses reach $29.5b

US carrier Sprint Nextel showed more signs that its recovery will be long and painful as it recorded a massive fourth-quarter loss, predicted continued customer weakness and pulled the plug on paying dividends, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the wireless carrier also unveiled a $99.99 unlimited calling and data services plan that establishes a new target in a burgeoning wireless price war but warned that even that wasn't the 'silver bullet' needed to cure its ills.

'Our business is not performing well right now,' CEO Dan Hesse, quoted by the Associated Press report, said.

'We are working aggressively to turn this around but our financial performance will not improve overnight.'

Blaming instability in the credit markets, Sprint Nextel said that it was not declaring dividends for the 'foreseeable future' and was borrowing $2.5 billion from a revolving credit facility to improve the company's 'financial flexibility.' It said it still had $500 million in the credit facility, the report added.

Sprint Nextel said it lost $29.5 billion, or $10.36 per share, during the quarter ending December 31. By comparison, the company earned $261 million, during the same period a year ago.

The Associated Press report further said the company would likely have to write off most of the remaining $30.7 billion in non-cash goodwill value from the acquisition of Nextel and a number of affiliates.