US cellco Sprint Nextel has reported net operating revenues of USD8.15 billion for the three months ended 30 September 2010. This figure represents a 1% increase compared to the figure of USD8.04 billion generated in 3Q09. However, the cellco reported a net loss of USD911 million for the quarter, almost double the USD478 million loss reported in the same period one year earlier. Adjusted OIBDA was USD1.3 billion for the quarter, compared to USD1.5 billion for the third quarter of 2009. Sprint attributes the year-on-year decline to higher subsidy costs due to the increased volume of handset sales and sales expenses resulting from an improvement in retail subscriber gross additions. Retail wireless service revenues increased by almost 2% to USD6.4 billion for the quarter, primarily due to an increased number of pre-paid subscribers – a result of its improved Boost Monthly Unlimited offering and its 4Q 2009 acquisition of Virgin Mobile.
In operational terms, Sprint reported 48.8 million wireless customers at the end of Q3. This figure includes 33.1 million post-paid subscribers, 11.6 million pre-paid subscribers and approximately 4.1 million wholesale and affiliate subscribers, who utilise its CDMA network. For the quarter, Sprint added a total of 644,000 net wireless customers, of which 364,000 were retail subscribers and 280,000 wholesale/affiliate subscribers; the Q3 addition of 471,000 pre-paid customers off-set the loss of 107,000 post-paid subscribers. Wireless post-paid ARPU declined from USD56 per month to USD55 per month year-on-year.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse commented: ‘Driven by record customer satisfaction, and the performance of iconic devices like the EVO and Epic, Sprint’s momentum continued this quarter. The Sprint brand gained post-paid 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 post-paid churn. We also saw improvement sequentially in pre-paid net additions, and our lowest pre-paid churn in almost five years’.