Sprint loses 1.09 million subscribers

During its first quarter earnings call this morning, Sprint Nextel did not disclose any more details on its Clearwire pact or discuss recent rumors that claimed Deutche Telekom may buy it. However, Sprint Nextel did note that it may sell some assets after its first quarter net losses expanded to $505 million. Losses in the year-ago period totaled $211 million. Those aren't the only losses facing Sprint: Q1 postpaid subscriber defections totaled 1.09 million. First-quarter revenues of $8.0 billion represented a 9 percent decline from the same quarter last year and a 6 percent fall from the fourth quarter of 2007.

Subscribers: Sprint's wireless business claimed 52.8 million total subscribers at the end of Q1, a decline the firm said reflects a smaller post-paid and affiliate base, partially offset by increases in prepaid and wholesale.  

Churn: Postpaid churn came in at 2.45 percent compared to 2.3 percent in both Q1 and Q4 of 2007.

ARPU: Wireless ARPU slumped to $56, a 6 percent decline over year-ago totals and a 4 percent sequential decline. Sprint said data growth partially offset declining voice revenue, with data contributing more than $11.50 to overall postpaid ARPU in the first quarter and more than $14--roughly one quarter--of CDMA ARPU. Sprint credits overall year-over-year data growth of 19 percent to strong sales of aircards and demand for messaging services.

Forecasting only marginal improvements in the current quarter, Sprint said it may seek waivers or amendments from its creditors, but believes enough cash is in its coffers to continue operations and repay all its maturing debts through the end of 2009.

"Improving the customer experience and being more selective about the customers we acquire should improve churn, but we expect that post-paid subscriber losses will improve only marginally from first-quarter levels," CEO Dan Hesse said during the analyst call.

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

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