Sprint earnings

Sprint this morning announced its Q4 2011 earnings, which, basically, were all about the iPhone and the revamping of its entire network. It added 1.6 million net subscribers in the fourth quarter -- the best three-month result in six years, Sprint says, with the bulk of that being from wholesale and affiliate outlets.

Despite that, Sprint still posted a $1.3 billion loss for the quarter, due to a variety of factors that outweigh the addition of new subscribers, record average revenue per user -- and the sale of some 1.8 million iPhones. Major changes to Sprint's network is costing a lot of money, and the company continues to cut costs on the operationsi side.

Source: Sprint


Reader comments

Sprint adds 1.6 million subscribers in Q4 2011, posts a $1.3 billion net loss


1.3 billion? I don't care how many subscribers you add, if you don't make money, you go under.

competition is good. without Sprint, imagine how much harder Verizon and AT&T would be pounding you every month?

Sprint offers the best value bar none. nobody else can touch them. i think Hesse is a smart guy and i'm glad to see them turning it around.

I went with Sprint due to the "value", they were cheaper by almost 25% than any other major carrier. To the tune of almost $700 over the life of my 2-year 2-phone contract. However their 3G speeds are terrible and I'll never get 4G WiMax in my area, meaning I won't have 4G under this contract. Which wouldn't be that big of a deal if their 3G speeds and coverage was good, but they are not and with LTE coming I don't expect them to ever improve it.

Maybe in some cities they are great but not around here, and it's my own fault because I didn't really understand 4G and Sprint's plans when I signed up, I just assumed my 4G phone would have 4G service within the next year. I guess it pretty much comes down to I'm getting what I'm paying for.

when you say Verizon 3G - what exactly are you comparing? your old device? your friend's device?

EVO 3D and SGSII (which along with the Photon are currently the top Android phones available at Sprint) vs Droid Bionic and iPhone 4. I'm lucky if I get 150kbps on 3G. Usually it's under 100, often it's less than 50. Which honestly worked OK on my old BES-locked Blackberry that didn't do much, but not on my EVO.

Not sure why you are having such a difficult time believing me. It is what it is. They are cheaper, but that doesn't necessarily make them a great value for me. I'm sure they are fine in some areas, but it seems to be a common complaint in the Sprint forums.

i'm incredulous because i travel all over the country and never had a 3G reception or speed problem with Sprint where a Verizon customer did not also have a problem. 4G i can not speak to since i've never had the chance to compare the two.

post some speed tests.

I've gotten terrible (dial up speeds) on Sprint, I also don't get near the coverage my cohorts in crime have when we go to a place like Atlantic City. In side the hotels, sprint pretty much doesn't work where my friend with her Verizon phone will have full bars.

Don't get me wrong, I generally do NOT have issues with Sprint's service and I think it's getting better and you'd never catch me with a VZ phone but that doesn't mean that Verizon's service is generally much better than Sprint's.

I've had Sprint for 12yrs. I still have them, and not planning on switching, but their 3G in DC is horrible. I'm in Turkey right now, and EDGE is better. The 3G here is better than Sprint's. Sprint's 4G is OK. Most of the time it works and sometimes it doesn't.... I only keep it on because it's better than their 3G. Current phone, Photon 4G.

Three years ago, I had to ditch Sprint after moving to central Alabama as the coverage was pretty bad. Verizon coverage here is very good in comparison. I know some co-workers on Virgin mobile (don't they use Sprint's network?) who to this day still get spotty coverage and/or poor speeds.

On older phones at least (and by older, I mean anything released before June 2011), Sprint's 3G speeds are absolutely terrible. I've consistently seen speeds from 40-200 Kbps on my HTC Arrive.

Things are similar for my GF's Epic Touch 4G, but when there's 4G coverage she gets around 10 Mbps. So WiMAX is still really fast, but 3G is really, really, really slow. Hopefully that'll improve as the year goes on.

I was throttled by AT&T last month after 2 gigs. Even though they offer 3 gigs of data for the same price. Verizon offers 4 gigs for $30 starting Friday. sprint is unlimited, and tmobile unlimited but gets throttled after 5 gigs. AT&T has the worst deal of all carriers, sprint has the best but coverage is spotty and 3g is slow to say the least. Tmobile has the second best deal and seems more reasonable but I heard coverage is spotty sometimes but hspa+ is a beast. Verizon At 4 gigs is still better than AT&T but 3G data could be faster and lte drains battery fast. My personal opinion is if AT&T adopted unlimited data like tmobile or sprint in addition to lte coverage of Verizon they would be the best. Sprint has a chance to be the best but they have to get lte out there and focus on 3G coverage in addition to lte. If lte is everywhere it will compensate for poor 3G speeds .

Everytime sony would come out with a new playstation they would report a loss for the quarter. Thats just how it is. You gotta spend money to make money.

of course. companies swing from profits to losses and back to profits all of the time. only someone who doesn't understand business wouldn't get that.

subsidized phones are an upfront cost but then the revenue and profit stream kicks in for each phone and pays out for the next 2-3 years.

Actually, T-Mobile is a better deal. I know, I know, people claim that they have a crappy network. Here in Seattle, I've never had a problem. I'm sure if I lived in the sticks it would be different.

long term i think it was a good move for Sprint. they will attract and retain customers because of the iPhone. there are a lot of people who want an iPhone and will buy nothing else. the iPhone crippled AT&T at first due to Apple's onerous financial terms but eventually it paid off for AT&T. it should pay off for Sprint as well.

It paid off for AT&T because it was an exclusive contract. That phone was the only competitive advantage AT&T had for several years and basically built them into what they are today. So yes, it did pay off for AT&T, but Sprint is not in the same situation.

Maybe it was a good move, but right now I think it's too early to tell.

A lot of that $1.3 billion was due to LTE/Network Vision and Clearwire costs. More importantly, Sprint might have lost customers this fall instead of setting a record number of net additions.

Also, hope you didn't tune into the fiscal call, because Sprint added that iPhones use less data on the network and that they need fewer calls in to customer help. Android is obviously important to Sprint, but it's clear that, like AT&T and Verizon, it's now an iPhone carrier first.

If they sold 1.8 million Iphones on Contract then they take an upfront hit for each one sold. If that was just $100 each (guessing) then that is a 180 Million dollar lose. Spend money to make money like they said above.

The upfront hit is $400, but that doesn't include the revenue that comes in the months after from the new customer.

Once I'm out of contract with VZW and Sprint has 4G in my area I'll be jumping ship. Hell, if they get 4G I might just pay termination fees to Verizon and jump ship anyways. I'm paying VZW $230 / month for two phone at the moment, phones just aren't worth that. Hrmm.... Maybe I just talked myself into a dumb phone and forget about smart phones all together and really save some money maybe use that extra money towards a new car that I really want.

That's insane. Two single lines without a family plan or anything on Sprint would be $160...even after taxes and fees it would be maybe $180. With my family plan and employee discount that it seems pretty much anyone can get I pay $132 after taxes for two phones (Evo Shift and Nexus S)

I have you beat. I pay $156/month for four lines of unlimited (throttled at 2GB) on T-Mobile. Verizon's prices are simple grand larceny.

8 lines shqaring 1500 with any mobile any time unlimited everything +1 450 minutes anymobile anytime unlimited everything + a land line+ 1 airave all including insurace and taxes =400

getting 25 % off bill+ 10 cortesy+no charge on airave and they are allowing me to have 8 lines in one 1500 everything data plan which helps alot

Really? I get three lines for $146 but only one line does not have the $10 fee for data. Still good enough for me.

I've been happy with Sprint. A little disappointed my 10 year anniversary is coming up a year after they end the Premier program though. Bring on the Galaxy Nexus. I would buy one without LTE even being switched on yet.

I absolutely want to see Sprint survive.
However with 5 billion in cash you cannot post a billion dollar loss every quarter and expect to survive. The clock is running, they need to see the turnaround fast.

Stock is already down 5% this morning.

sprint is a joke i dont know why people have this crappy carrier. they have a shitty ass 3g network which ur lucky to get like 300kb and even worse 4g wiimax where some people dont even get wiimax. i get that its unlimited but c'mon at 300kb's thats a joke and dont even think that there gonna grandfather u in to unlimited LTE cuz there not, guaranteed its gonna be tiered. also have the worst phones at the moment (best they got is the s2)

Here in Honolulu they shut down one of their stores.....I'm sure it's all about cutting back on operational costs...bummer for me since that store was close to my office....had Sprint for many years and I gotta say their customer service has improved greatly....we'll see what their LTE service will be by the end of this year...I hope....

I just moved to T-Mobile from Sprint in December after being with sprint for 10 years and I have to say this is the best decision I ever made. I get much better coverage with T-Mobile. I get unlimited data on T-Mobile just like on Sprint. The difference is that on Sprint 100% of your data is throttled while on T-Mobile you choose how much you want of high speed. I got a plan of 5gb high speed on one line and 2gb on the other. 1000 minutes and unlimited texting for $94.99 - 10% discount = $85.49. Now tell me what other company I can get that with. Plus I'm rocking this beast of a Unlocked Galaxy Nexus that WILL actually get updates from Google. Before you start trashing T-Mobiles network please know that at least in my are I get even higher speeds on T-Mobile network then Verizons LTE Network (16Mbps vs 9Mbps). I don't want to even talk about Sprint ShitMAX.

I love how people talk about "how big of a joke" Sprint is and how "Verizon is just sooo great"... I've had both carriers and Verizon is slightly better but is NOT worth the extra money they charge by any means. I dropped calls and got poor data speeds in a lot of areas even with Verizon. If I were to pay Verizon $130+ per month for a damn phone then it better work EVERYWHERE and data should be unlimited and extremely fast wherever I go. With Verizon you are not getting what you pay for, you are getting ripped off people.

Since my contract was almost up, I looked into switching to Verizon. Not a chance in hell was I doing it! I don't remember the numbers, but the price difference was crazy. I have 5 Android phones on my account (and an AirRave - free), get a 15% discount on the main plan from my employer, and pay a total after taxes of $252/month. An average of just over $50/month per phone. I don't think that's too bad.

I've been with Sprint nearly 11 years in western Wisconsin. No 4G here (probably never), and the 3G isn't blazing fast, but it's bearable. For that reason I've never felt the need to do a speed test. Maybe I should just to see how I compare to everybody else's.

I'm running a SGSII Epic 4G Touch and can't complain. As the graphic clearly shows, their customer service is markedly improved. I can personally attest to that. I can remember calling and getting the runaround or feeling ignored. Now, I call & get taken care of immediately. Hell, they even agreed to allow me to upgrade my phone a week early. Saved me a ton of money on Best Buy's "Buy Back Plan" doing it before my full year was up.

All in all, I'm happy with my service and won't be switching anytime soon.