Sprint Nextel is hoping to reverse revenue losses over the next several quarters as postpaid subscriber defections slow and prepaid increases as a growth engine, according to CFO Bob Brust.
Brust, speaking at an analyst conference, said that after revenue declines during the past two years, "this year we hope it is more stable or flattish." Shares in the nation's No. 3 carrier jumped 19 cents, or 5.8 percent, to $3.47 in afternoon trading yesterday on Brust's comments. He said that as revenue stabilizes, "maybe in the next several quarters, we will actually see some growth in revenue, which would be the end of the turnaround."
In the fourth quarter, Sprint rate of subscriber losses slowed. Net wireless customers during the period declined by around 148,000, including net losses of 504,000 postpaid customers. That's an improvement of 545,000 net wireless customer losses, including net postpaid subscriber losses of 801,000, in the third quarter. However, the company suffered year-over-year declines in total revenue and wireless service revenue.
Brust said Sprint plans to implement the "leanest possible cost structure," but noted the carrier needs to get back to revenue growth. His comments came days after Standard & Poor's Ratings Service downgraded Sprint's credit rating, citing continued postpaid subscriber losses.
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