Sprint reported a US$863 million net loss for the first quarter but sales met expectations and the US number-three also added valuable postpaid subscribers.
The net loss compared to a loss of US$439 million a year ago and included a depreciation charge of US$543 million relating to the closure of its Nextel platform. Revenues rose 5 percent to US$8.7 billion in line with analysts’ estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll.
Total subscriber net additions for the quarter hit almost 1.1 million, bringing the total to a record 56 million, up 4 percent over the previous quarter. This included 263,000 postpaid net additions, 870,000 prepaid net additions and 785,000 wholesale and affiliate net additions. Sprint recorded more than 1.5 million iPhone sales in the quarter with 44 percent going to new customers.
Wireless service revenues totalled US$7.2 million, up 7 percent year-on-year, an increase the firm attributed to a US$4.03 uplift in postpaid ARPU, which it claimed was “the largest year-over-year increase on record for the US wireless industry.”
Sprint also updated on its ‘Network Vision’ plan designed to streamline its network infrastructure and accelerate its migration to 4G/LTE.
To date, the firm said it has approximately 600 sites on air “meeting speed and coverage enhancement targets.” It plans to activate 12,000 sites by the end of 2012 and to complete the majority of its Network Vision rollout in 2013. Meanwhile, it has taken approximately 1,300 iDEN (Nextel) sites off air to date and expects to shut down a total of 9,600 before the end of Q3.
“We continue to hit our key internal milestones and make significant progress on Network Vision,” said CEO Dan Hesse.
Sprint plans to launch its first LTE networks in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Atlanta, Kansas City and Baltimore later this year.