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Despite Higher Net Losses, Sprint Adds 644,000 Wireless Subscribers in Third Quarter
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October 27, 2010

Despite Higher Net Losses, Sprint Adds 644,000 Wireless Subscribers in Third Quarter

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Sprint (News - Alert) Nextel Corp., reported that during the third quarter of 2010, the company’s net loss increased to $911 million, or 30 cents per share from $478 million, or 17 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago.

Sprint revenue increased to $8.15 billion from $8.04 billion.  Still, Sprint saw its best total company wireless subscriber net additions since 2006, adding 644,000 total wireless subscribers. It was driven by positive net postpaid subscriber growth of 354,000 for the Sprint brand and the company’s best year-over-year improvement in postpaid churn in five years.

Demand for smartphones, like Samsung Epic 4GTM and HTC (News - Alert) EVO 4G, remained strong, and the company delivered postpaid churn of 1.93 percent – the best postpaid churn result Sprint has reported in the third quarter of any year, the company said.

“Driven by record customer satisfaction, and the performance of iconic devices like the EVO and Epic, Sprint’s momentum continued this quarter,” said Dan Hesse (News - Alert), Sprint CEO. “The Sprint brand gained postpaid customers for the fourth consecutive quarter as, for the second consecutive quarter based on porting data, more customers switched to Sprint from our competitors than switched from Sprint to our competitors. In addition, our last two quarters have been all-time bests for postpaid churn. We also saw improvement sequentially in prepaid net adds and our lowest prepaid churn in almost five years.”

Sprint continued to receive recognition, this quarter including the No. 6 spot in Newsweek’s Green Ranking and multiple awards for customer satisfaction during the quarter.

Sprint’s multi-brand prepaid strategy continued to roll out during the third quarter as the company’s new Virgin Mobile (News - Alert) “Beyond Talk” data-centric plans and Assurance Wireless plans contributed to increased gross additions.

The focus on data and connectivity was also supported by a new $40 unlimited data plan for Virgin’s Broadband2Go product line.

As part of the broader portfolio, Sprint also launched payLo by Virgin Mobile, providing value for the customer with basic communications needs with a 400 Minutes for $20/month plan. And Boost Mobile added another dimension to its unlimited offer with a $2 Daily option.

“Earlier this month at CTIA, we introduced Sprint ID, a ground-breaking innovation available on devices using the Android platform that lets customers download up to five ‘packs’ of mobile content built around customers’ interests or business needs. Recognized and respected brands like Yahoo!, HSN, Disney (News - Alert), ESPN, LatCel and eBay have teamed with Sprint to deliver easy navigation and simplicity in a growing ocean of mobile applications. Sprint will differentiate itself by bringing simplicity and openness to the mobile Internet,” Hesse said.

Heading into the winter holidays, Sprint offers devices that include more than a dozen products that offer 4G service, including phones, USB modems, mobile hotspots and routers. The Samsung Epic 4G became Sprint's second 4G handset when it debuted in stores in September. The Samsung Galaxy Tab will be available to customers Nov. 14, with 3G network speeds and integrated Sprint ID. Last week, Sprint became the first wireless carrier in America to offer an embedded 3G/4G netbook and notebook, announcing the availability of Dell Inspiron Mini 10 (1012) and Dell Inspiron 11z. And debuting Oct. 31, 2010, the Blackberry Style 9670 will offer a flip design, full Qwerty keyboard, advanced smartphone features and new BlackBerry 6 OS.

Sprint launched 4G service in 19 new cities during the quarter, including Boston, Orlando and Nashville. Sprint 4G is now available in 55 markets. Coverage is expected to reach up to 120 million people by the end of 2010, including a deployment in New York on Nov. 1, and in December, Sprint will launch 4G service in Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco.

Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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