Sprint Q2 churn down, data ARPU strong

For troubled operator Sprint Nextel, the second quarter was a mix of good news and bad. On the profit side, the No. 3 carrier reported a net income of $19 million, down from $370 million in second quarter 2006. But total wireless revenue was $8.8 billion, an increase of 3 percent year-over-year and wireless data revenues were up 40 percent compared to a year ago. Sprint added nearly 400,000 subscribers bringing its total subscriber base to 54 million. 41.6 million are post-paid subscribers with 25.3 million on the CDMA network and 15.5 million on iDEN. The carrier has 850,000 PowerSource users who use both the CDMA and the iDEN network.  

Here's a rundown the firm's second quarter highlights: 

ARPU
: Post-paid ARPU was $60. Data accounts for 16 percent of postpaid ARPU. The CDMA platform data ARPU was $12.75 per month. Sprint says there's been strong demand for data aircards and the company has sold more than 1 million cards.  

Churn: Churn was reduced to 2 percent and the company says that network performance continues to improve.  

Boost Mobile: Boost Mobile prepaid net subscriber additions were 169,000, bringing Boost's total subscriber base to 4.5 million. The Boost Unlimited plan has attracted 100,000 subscribers. The unlimited plan is in four markets and the company has not seen any postpaid cannibalization from the unlimited plan, however those subscribers do have higher usage. The company will decide later this year what its next step is with Boost Unlimited. 

ITC ban on handsets with Qualcomm chip sets: Sprint is exploring its options so that its customers have the latest handsets. It is using a technology solution designed by Qualcomm. The company believes this workaround solution isn't impacted by the ban. The company is encouraging Sprint and Broadcom to reach a resolution. 

Pivot Cable Joint Venture: The cable JV has launched service in 20 markets and expects to be in 40 markets by year-end. Sprint Nextel Chairman and President Gary Forsee says that the JV took longer than expected to work through back office issues and there is still some system work necessary to speed up activations. However, customers are receptive to the service. 

For more on Sprint's second quarter:  
- see this press release
- see this WSJ story (sub. req.)
- see this MarketWatch story

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