Sprint reiterated its confidence in its turnaround strategy after cost cuts of nearly $800 million so far in fiscal 2015, as the struggling US operator also reported an uptick in lucrative contract customer additions.
The company, which said last quarter it was swinging the axe to approximately $2 billion in operating expenses, reported almost $500 million in cuts in Q3.
Before the earnings announcement, a company spokesperson also reportedly said Sprint had axed at least 2,500 jobs as part of the plan, in various customer care centres across the US.
Sprint reported a net loss of $836 million, a significant improvement year on year from $2.4 billion. Net operating revenue “stabilised” at $8.1 billion, a 10 per cent decrease year on year from $8.9 billion.
Sprint put the revenue fall down to a number of factors, including lower wireless services revenue, “primarily related to customer shifts to rate plans associated with device financing options”, as well as lower equipment revenue due to a rise in installment plans.
“It’s clear from our quarterly results that we are making great progress on achieving our goals,” claimed Marcelo Claure, Sprint CEO.
Swings and roundabouts for customer numbers
Claure in particular talked up postpaid phone net additions, which stood at 501,000 for the quarter, growing by 471,000 year on year from 30,000 additions.
But the company lost 491,000 prepaid customers, compared with 410,000 additions in the prior-year quarter.
Wholesale and affiliate additions meant the company added 491,000 customers in total during the quarter, compared with 967,000 in the year-ago quarter.
The company said the positive net additions helped it to stabilise the top line, while pinning some of the success down to a recently launched promotion offering customers 50 per cent off Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile rate plans, which it has now extended up to 11 February.
Total postpaid connections hit 30.9 million for the period, with total customers reported at 58.4 million. While the growth is positive, closest rival T-Mobile US, which took number three spot from Sprint last year, said earlier this year it had now gone past the 63 million subscriber mark at the end of 2015.
Sprint, meanwhile, also trumpeted improved performance of its LTE Plus network, available in 150 markets across the US, which it says was rated as delivering the fastest LTE download speeds, compared to its three main rivals, in an analysis by research firm Nielsen.