updated 08:10 am EDT, Wed August 6, 2008
Sprint Q2 2008 Results
Sprint on Wednesday continued a succession of negative quarterly results by reporting that it has lost 901,000 subscribers in the spring quarter, dropping its subscriber base to 51.4 million from 52.8 million in the winter. The losses are less than the one million lost in the winter and are said to be helped by two percent churn, or subscriber turnover; the amount is the lowest the company has experienced since it merged with Nextel in 2004. The company primarily attributes the softer fall to more easily understood plans and also claims to have a better customer mix, with more of its customers spending extra money on service for unlimited data options like the Simply Everything plan.
The company also directly credits the Samsung Instinct as a tool for retaining customers, noting that it attracts "high-value" customers and that it's beginning to push the average revenue from customers higher. The touchscreen phone has already been described as the fastest-selling 3G device ever to launch on Sprint's network and was touted as superior to the iPhone until the introduction of iPhone 3G, which eliminated most of the Instinct's advantages.
Sprint's results also reveal mounting difficulties at the carrier even as it tries to reduce expenses and minimize problems, such as its once-complex billing and its support issues. The provider turned from a $19 million net profit in spring 2007 to a $345 million net loss this year and has taken to unusual steps such as selling its cellular towers to reduce its maintenance costs.
The total subscriber base keeps Sprint in third place but also stands in contrast to first- and second-place US carriers AT&T and Verizon, which added 1.3 million and 1.5 million customers respectively and saw continued increases in net income. AT&T's results are widely expected to improve further in the summer with the iPhone 3G launch, which almost doubled the original iPhone's launch weekend results and has been in heavy demand for considerably longer than its predecessor.