Sprint Third Quarter Loss Widens to $478 Million


Beleaguered U.S. telecommunications operator Sprint has posted its financial results for its third fiscal quarter of 2009…and the company is reporting a net loss of $478 million for the quarter. That’s 47 percent more than the company lost in the same quarter a year ago—that was $326 million—although CEO Dan Hesse says the company is turning a corner and seeing upticks in both pre-paid and post-paid subscribers.

“Sprint achieved its best net retail subscriber results in more than two years and improvement in both post-paid and prepaid gross subscriber additions,” said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, in a statement. “Sprint is beginning to attract more customers with the industry’s best device line-up and the clarity and simplicity of our offers, [and] seven sequential quarters of improvement in customer care satisfaction.”

Sprint reported quarterly revenue of $8 billion, down from $8.8 billion in the same quarter of 2008; the company’s wireless business generated $6.9 billion in revenue ($1.4 billion came from wireline service), and $664 million of free cash flow. Hesse indicated the company is aggressively managing its costs to beef up its bottom line; even so, sales were down 2 percent compared to last year, which Sprint attributes to fewer post-paid subscribers. During the quarter, Sprint actually lost 135,000 retail subscribers during the quarter, but saw quarter-to-quarter improvements in both pre-paid and post-paid customers.

Hesse expressed disappointment that the company has had limited success reducing churn in its wireless subscriber base, and that the company has yet to return to growth in wireless subscribers. However, Sprint is betting heavily both on Android devices and Palm’s Pre and Pixi smartphones to attract new and former customers to the carrier, as well as on expanding 4G service via WiMax.