updated 08:30 am EST, Fri November 7, 2008
Sprint Q3 2008 Results
Sprint on Friday reported a damaging summer quarter, revealing mounting struggles at the company. The American carrier swung from a $64 million net profit in summer of 2007 to a $322 million net loss for the same season this year and saw itself continue to lose cellphone customers, shedding a net 1.3 million subscribers and dropping to 50.5 million users from exactly 54 million a year ago.
The company tries to mitigate the impact of the loss by noting that more of its customers have strong credit and that any losses in voice revenue are being compensated for through data revenue, which has been helped in part by its push for Simply Everything plans that include unlimited access to Sprint's 3G network and associated features.
Sprint doesn't explain the loss other than to point to economic issues but has noted that it has made significant strides in both its device lineup and its customer support, which at one point was considered poor enough to be a major liability for the provider. In a holiday phone recommendation list, six out of the top ten devices were from Sprint; at the same time, the company has recently seen the need for support calls drop 20 percent and topped a customer support survey this fall.
The company also believes it's positioned well for data and has said its financial conference call that it sees "100 percent" of revenue additions coming from data for carriers by 2010. Unlimited cellular data service and the launch during the summer of its Xohm WiMAX network are both important steps towards that goal, according to the carrier.
No mention has been made of exact performance for the Samsung Instinct. The company continues to tout it as its flagship phone and its best alternative to the iPhone but has never provided sales numbers and hasn't provided an update since late June, or just before the iPhone 3G launch. Sprint is commonly though to have sold few Instincts compared to AT&T's iPhone sales.
The company anticipates "continued pressure" on its monthly subscription users and their average revenue. Operating income before depreciation is also expected to fall.