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Sprint’s revival continues with over 1 million new subscribers, though there’s still red ink

Sprint reported its fiscal fourth-quarter 2014 earnings, with the company reporting a net addition of 1.2 million subscribers, the highest total in three years. Even so, there are still red flags that should temper expectations moving forward.

The 1.2 million new subscribers represent a significant boost when compared to last quarter and last year, when Sprint reported a net addition of 967,000 subscribers and a net loss of 383,000 subscribers, respectively. Out of those new subscribers, 546,000 were prepaid subscribers, a sharp turnaround from the 364,000 subscribers Sprint lost during the same period last year.

Moving on to postpaid, which is arguably Sprint’s biggest money maker, the carrier reporting a net gain of 211,000, even though it reported net postpaid phone losses of 201,000. Though it’s not a smile-inducing statistic, Sprint’s net postpaid phone losses were lower than reported losses the year before, which totaled 693,000.

In total, Sprint reported a net operating revenue of $8.3 billion, a 7 percent decrease from the previous year. In addition, Sprint reported a net loss of $224 million, a big step backwards from the $151 million net loss the carrier reported the prior year. Even with these backward steps, Sprint now has 57.1 million accounts connected with it, 29 million of which are postpaid, with 15.8 million prepaid subscribers.

Overall, Sprint had a very positive quarter, at least when compared to its previous quarters. The carrier hopes to continue riding this momentum with three new initiatives:

  1. Sprint Direct 2 You, which will have a Sprint representative hand delivering a Sprint smartphone to your home.
  2. Free Wi-Fi Calling for iPhone, which will allow iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus owners to make free calls while connected to Wi-Fi.
  3. Free International Value Roaming, which will give Sprint subscribers free 2G roaming when traveling to Latin America, Europe, and Japan.

Whether Sprint can maintain the momentum is something we’ll keep an eye on, as it tries to hold the No. 3 spot in the United States.