Analysts expect improvement from Sprint in Q4

When it announces its fourth quarter 2009 results later this week, Sprint Nextel is expected to begin recovering from a string of subscriber losses. However, analysts are divided over how strong the comeback will be.

The company may stem or reverse subscriber losses due to the continued success of its Boost Mobile prepaid unit as well as its newly introduced Any Mobile, Anytime calling plan. According to the AP, Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett said he thinks Sprint will have net subscriber additions of 327,000. However, Deutsche Bank analyst Brett Feldman said he believes Sprint will report 150,000 net wireless subscriber losses.

Either outcome will be a substantial improvement over Sprint's third quarter performance. During that period, Sprint's net retail subscribers declined by 135,000 and its net wireless customers declined by around 545,000--including net losses of 801,000 postpaid customers.

Sprint has been working feverishly to reverse years of declining subscriber additions. The carrier recently made prepaid a priority, and finished its acquisition of prepaid MVNO Virgin Mobile USA late last year. The company also is moving aggressively on its 4G mobile WiMAX plans, and is expected to launch a WiMAX handset later this year.

For more:
- see this AP article
- see complete Q4 coverage

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