Sprint losses mount, carrier sold 1.5 million iPhones this quarter

Sprint losses mount, carrier sold 1.5 million iPhones this quarter
Sprint, the US third-biggest wireless carrier, posted a nearly two times bigger loss despite growing overall revenue in the first quarter of 2012. The carrier was dragged down by huge expenses over its developing 4G LTE network and by iPhone subsidies.

Sprint’s loss amounted to $863 million, or 29 cents per share, worse than losses of $439 million in the same period last year. Wireless service revenues grew to $7.2 billion in Q1 2012, a 7% growth on the year. Sprint’s losses are partly due to $543 million deprecation resulting after the closure of Nextel, but were offset by a benefit from shutting down partnership with Lightsquared.

Overall, Sprint customers grew by 1.1 million new subscribers conributing to the user base reaching a record 56 million.

The carrier sold 1.5 million iPhones in the first three months of the year, slightly lower than the 1.8 million iPhones sold during the Holiday Q4 2011, but still relatively strong. The iPhone sales numbers still lagged behind those of the big two - AT&T and Verizon. AT&T sold 4.3 million iPhones in Q1, while Verizon sold 3.2 million.

Together, the three big US carriers offering Apple’s iPhone combined for 9 million iPhones sold, just about a quarter of all the iPhones Apple sells across the world.

source: Sprint



27. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

technically they didnt sell any less iphones per userbase than VZW did. 50 million compared to vzw's what.. 100 million users. 1.5 doubled to match the user base would be 3 million sold.. which is about what VZW sold. So the % to user base is the same.

22. nb2six

Posts: 298; Member since: Apr 27, 2011

whenever youre the cheapest out there, you are going to get more subscribers. However when you lack the capabilities to support those subscribers, you end up with losses across the board due to network stress and poor CS scores.

23. hornetmx

Posts: 71; Member since: Mar 12, 2010

Are you clueless??? This is a service industry. The companies that provide the best service are the biggest. Tmobile Is the "cheapest out there" but they arent adding more customers than the others.....Why didnt sprint add more than ATT or VZ? I wonder why? Shouldnt ATT and VZW customer all flock to the other two since they are so much cheaper? Think before you type something. I think we need a simple common sense test on these websites before you are allowed to post something!!!


Posts: 25; Member since: Apr 24, 2012

We see sales of Apple higher than other's. we say apple will alway's sell, unlike other's. we are told sale's will rise. we were told the ip5 will cause collateral damage. we thank Apple. we like that!

17. highper

Posts: 6; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

Hopefully all the customers they have gained are the ones they want to have. People that actually pay their bills, for example.

19. audiblenarcotic

Posts: 114; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Agreed. A sub-prime subscriber base it the thing that has hurt Sprint the most over the course of the last 10 years.

16. kabukijoe

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 06, 2010

I don't understand why more people don't go to Sprint honestly, I mean getting more for less seems like a no brainer. Yeah the other carriers are more rapidly expanding their 4G (which you'd hope that they are with all the extra money they are charging people) but what's the point of having super fast speeds when you are going to hit your data cap in a matter of a week or 2, and pay MORE to be limited and get charged overages if you actually decide to take advantage of the speeds? From my experience with Verizon they aren't really that much better than Sprint, Verizon dropped just as many calls as Sprint, if not more. It's nothing more than popularity, that's it. Everyone has Verizon or AT&T because everyone they know has Verizon or AT&T... And for the most part this is also the case with the iPhone, a lot of people that get it don't really know much about it but they know that it is popular so they must have one too.

18. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

The reason I stay with AT&T because I have better service then my Uncle(Verizon), my girl cousin(Sprint), and my boy(T-mobile). Especially in my house I have full bars compared to the rest and I live in NY, T-mobile is the worse out of the four in my house. I like AT&T HSPA+, when there is no LTE, you still have faster connections. I do not need unlimited internet, I was grandfather in at one point, but realized I use way less then 2gb of internet, which I still do even on LTE/HSPA+, so I got rid of my unlimited and took cheaper 2 gb internet plan, which they do not sell no more. After you factor in those I like AT&T phone's better, but if I did leave, it would be to Verizon. I think Sprint has a long way to go before I look at them seriously, they first need to have better signals, because their phones are not too bad, but once their data speeds get better, I will check them out.

24. Markizzle21

Posts: 30; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

1. Do you have Wifi? 2. If not why do you have a smartphone? 3. Really how much did you save for your 2gb over unlimited?

33. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

Wifi everywhere in NY, I keep my wifi on, but if the speeds to slow I turn it off and use my LTE or HSPA+ depends where I am at.........I can not remember how much unlimted internet cost but it was more then the 2 gb plan.....I save prolly most 20 dollars

34. Markizzle21

Posts: 30; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

I can understand if you have wifi and save money but im pretty sure at&t had $30 unlimited data before they switched and there is the 2gb plan for $20. But they throttled after a certain amount of data usuage on unlimited. (typical carrier thing)

30. christony1120

Posts: 65; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

Really? In New York Verizon is usually the one getting the full bars of Lte/3g, but my way is vice versa, the day I don't want VZW anymore I would probably go with ATT since their right behind VZW, but Sprint ...... NO WAY. That suggestion will never come across my head

32. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

lol you are so right same here man I would go to Verizon way before Sprint

35. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Sprint service in NY is excellent, actually.

29. christony1120

Posts: 65; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

Are you kidding me don't ever compare Verizon with Sprint. Verizon is way faster and I'm pretty sure your little story about "droped calls' is a lie

31. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

I never said I did not get drop calls, but if I did get drop calls it be once in a few and why be upset at my response, you should be happy I have comfort with my choice of carrier, which work for me. I have no complaints honestly, if I did I would of leave long time ago......I said nothing bad about Verizon, I said if I had to leave it would be to Verizon based of seeing my uncle phone and reception.

14. scvzw2

Posts: 32; Member since: Jun 20, 2010

Smh it Business 101 you have to spend money to make money. High risk = high reward or failure. Sprint has made some smart and some not do smart decisions the past few years I think I'm the only who thinks the iPhone investment was a smart one. Especially when the LTE iPhone arrives bundled with their unlimited data it will benefit them greatly!

13. Contreramanjaro

Posts: 153; Member since: Dec 04, 2011

This is partly true. Sprint is still contributing to the loss with each iPhone sold since they have to pay Apple more for the device than they sell it for. Also, I think Sprint is doing a fine job (recently) digging itself out of a rut caused by some rather bad deals. Even with these bad deals, Sprint is on the receiving end of some precious spectrum. With Clear they have the 2500mhz spectrum that they built WiMax on, they have their own 1900mhz pcs bunch, and soon they will even be building LTE on the old Nextel 800mhz spectrum. This is good because ATT and Verizon are both running out of spectrum. That being said, Sprint is going to have to play it smart(er) because it doesn't look like it will be turning a profit for a while and needs to manage it's losses while building LTE and finishing its Network Vision project. I think the number of iPhones sold is a solid number for Sprint considering they are the smallest carrier and the losses are nothing surprising.

15. Contreramanjaro

Posts: 153; Member since: Dec 04, 2011

Sorry, this was meant to be in response to ngo2dd.

12. dallas90733

Posts: 36; Member since: Mar 06, 2011

Sprint well be fine, after they get their LTE up and running in a few cities, plus keep their data plan unlimited and add SGS3, they will be stronger.

11. ngo2dd

Posts: 896; Member since: Jul 08, 2011

for the people who don't understand, adding customers is what is important in the long run. The iphone was not the cause of the lost in Q1 because the iphone deal was Q4 2011. ATT had their biggest profit because of the iphone. That phone bring in customers. Sprint had not new phone in Q1 but still bring in new customer and I can tell you they were not android people.

10. phonton

Posts: 65; Member since: Dec 27, 2011

Adding up customers is surely a positive thing to note though the company ails on other aspects. Gotta give them some more time and see. They have started their LTE roll out and hopefully catch up soon with the big players. It's good to have them around. We need competition.

9. snowgator

Posts: 3629; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Maybe I am the only one who actually read the article.... "revenues grew to $7.2 billion in Q1 2012, a 7% growth on the year. Sprint’s losses are partly due to $543 million deprecation resulting after the closure of Nextel, but were offset by a benefit from shutting down partnership with Lightsquared." "Overall, Sprint customers grew by 1.1 million new subscribers conributing to the user base reaching a record 56 million." Soooo...... not all bad news?? Yes, Sprint is still in a solid 3rd place, has a long way to go before they are even close to AT&T and Verizon in service and speeds, but it still seems to me they are making solid decisions at this point. The only difference is their mistakes are more painful due to not having any room for error, unlike the big two.

20. threeline

Posts: 325; Member since: Sep 11, 2011

Its a tough time for Sprint because all the transitioning that's taking place with Nextel, WiMax, LTE, Lightsquared, adding the iPhone at ridiculous price and all this has been compounded by the fact that Sprint took time off of releasing new phones because all the changes being made. It's well known that some of these decisions should have been made earlier, but with everything said they need to be 100% on top of their game regarding LTE coverage and completing all the network upgrades to improve 3G service to the folks that are not getting WiMax or LTE. I think what they do now will definitely determine whether they catch up or fall further behind and the latter is not an option. I've been a Sprint customer for 10+ years and I've been on PA ranting and screaming about the service and that I'm leaving but I decided to get the Sprint GN and give them one last chance, if this LTE thing ends up anywhere close to the WiMax situation, I am for sure moving on. Show me what you got Sprint.

25. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Agreed, this is actually good news, yes they lost money, but this is what Sprint and analysts expected. The problem is that just as Sprint was turning around, they are now divesting the Nextel Network, added iPhone with huge subsidies and are deploying an LTE network, all very expensive and all at the same time. Once Nextel is off the books, the iPhone subsidies are offset by subscriber gains and the Network Vision 3G / 4G LTE Network is built, the numbers will look much better. Sprint is at a transition point...

8. mrvid

Posts: 77; Member since: Oct 02, 2008

Maybe if they had even something close to good service! Their 4G sucks! Their 3 G sucks! And all the changes that have been doing suck! I was a Sprint customer for almost 12 years, Got rid 5 lines due to the contract change and went to Verizon! They have super fast LTE! Sure it's a little more, but worth it when you can use the service you're paying for!!

26. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

I hear you, although its not as bad as you say. Yes, LTE is faster than WiMAX, but WiMAX is still great in many markets, 6mbps average is better than 3G. Their 3G is slow because of the huge explosion of iPhone's and other smartphones. The silver lining is that they are working on upgrading their network to be the most advanced in the country. Coverage will improve and speeds will drastically improve within the next 6-12 months, nationwide, when Sprint will have a network as good and fast and almost the same coverage as Verizon's, and better in some aspects. Hopefully unlimited data will stay.

6. tluv00

Posts: 134; Member since: Oct 18, 2007

Dear Dan Hesse, Dust off that resume. The Board

4. danwatson

Posts: 117; Member since: Jan 03, 2012

As a Sprint subscriber, I am just amazed at how many back to back bad decisions have been made over the last several years. I am not at all surprised by the numbers. They are now trailing ATT and Verizon heavily in the 4G race and have managed to loose $100's of millions in the process by way of horrifying decisions. I really hope they get their act together quickly but after Wimax, Nextel, Lightsquared, and an insane iphone investment, they have a ton of ground to make up with no cash to do it with.


Posts: 1461; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Think that instead of investing so much into iPhone they should have built out LTE and offered top tier phones Like Gnexus, Note, One X, and other top tier phones early rather than late like the Galaxy Nexus. Once LTE is set up then negotiate a deal with Apple. They seem to have paid way more than other carriers for the iPhone. I think in the end it will work out with the LTE deployment ready to go live, and future iPhone sales with unlimited data. We shall see!

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