Sprint widens loss despite record customer adds

Sprint posted first quarter losses of nearly $600 million, citing a charge related to severance costs, but reported the largest sequential improvement in gross additions in its history thanks to gains by its Boost Mobile prepaid unit.

Sprint said it lost $594 million in Q1, compared to year-ago losses of $505 million - the results include $327 million in severance costs as the operator sheds 13% of its workforce in an effort to save about $1.2 billion per year. Sprint's revenues decreased 12% to $8.21 billion.

Sprint's wireless subscriber count declined by approximately 182,000 during the first quarter to 49.3 million, compared to Q4 subscriber losses of 1.3 million.

The carrier lost 1.25 million postpaid customers but acquired 764,000 prepaid consumers on its iDEN network, thanks largely to Boost Mobile, which in February introduced a $50 monthly unlimited voice and data plan.

Sprint said that about 8.6% of its postpaid subscribers upgraded their handsets during the first quarter, translating to increased contract renewals.

Sprint's wireless service revenues for the quarter totaled $6.4 billion, a 10% year-over-year decline and a 2% sequential drop.

Wireless postpaid ARPU was stable sequentially and year-over-year at $56, which the operator credited to growth in fixed-rate bundled plans such as Simply Everything, offset by seasonal declines in usage.

Data contributed more than $15 to overall postpaid ARPU in the first quarter, led by growth in CDMA data ARPU, which grew about 5% in Q1 to more than $18. According to Sprint, data ARPU now represents more than 31% of total CDMA ARPU.

For more on Sprint's Q1 results: - read this release