Sprint and Clearwire have both announced huge first-quarter losses, just days after confirming their high-profile planned WiMAX joint venture in the US. Sprint Nextel, the third largest operator in the US by subscribers, reported a net loss of US$505 million for the quarter, more than double a year-earlier net loss of US$211 million. The widening loss was partly attributed to a 1.1 million decline in lucrative postpaid subscriber numbers, which pushed total subscribership down 1.5 percent from a year earlier to 52.8 million. Revenue fell 8 percent to US$9.33 billion. According to a New York Times report, CEO Dan Hesse said the operator is considering selling non-core operations, saying: “Nothing is off the table.” Last week it was reported that Sprint is mulling a split with Nextel that could pave the way for a takeover bid by Deutsche Telekom.
Sprint also faces further obstacles in the form of two new lawsuits. Sprint affiliate iPCS claims that the new WiMAX venture with Clearwire violates its exclusive rights to offer mobile services in its territory. iPCS is seeking an injunction preventing Sprint from closing the transaction until terms can be changed. RCR News reports that a lawsuit has also been filed against Sprint Nextel alleging it is charging customers for mobile content they did not authorise buying. Meanwhile, Clearwire yesterday posted a net first-quarter loss of US$176.4 million on revenue up 76 percent at US$51.5 million compared to a year ago. The company added over 48,000 net new subscribers to end the quarter with 443,000 users, up 72 percent on the previous year’s first-quarter.