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Sprint continues difficult transition in Q2: $1.4b net loss, 1.5m iPhones sold

Sprint continues difficult transition in Q2: $1.4b net loss, 1.5m iPhones sold


Sprint has posted its Q2 2012 financial results, revealing an operating loss of $629 million resulting in a net loss of $1.38 billion.

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Sprint store (STOCK)

Sprint has posted its Q2 2012 financial results, revealing an operating loss of $629 million resulting in a net loss of $1.38 billion, the latter figure thanks to increasing costs of its network improvements and LTE rollout. Postpaid subscriptions rose by 442,000 in the period, but the company lost 688,000 subscribers from its Nextel iDEN platform — just 60 percent of customers moved from Nextel to Sprint's network, giving the company a net subscriber loss of 246,000. It wasn't all doom and gloom, however: with prepaid, wholesale, and affiliate subscribers added, the company added a total of 283,000 subscriptions. Net operating revenues were $8.843 billion, up from $8.311 billion last quarter, and postpaid ARPU (average revenue per user) reached $63.38, up by $4.31 from last quarters' results.

iPhone sales were pegged at "nearly 1.5 million," a slight decrease from last quarter's 1.5 million. The flat sales are in contrast to AT&T and Verizon's results, which revealed a large drop in iPhone sales, blamed on the smartphone approaching the assumed end of its lifespan. Nonetheless, Sprint still sits in third place in terms of iPhone activations and sales: AT&T and Verizon recorded 3.7 and 2.7 million, respectively. For a company that bet its future on the iPhone, the results aren't a disaster, but they could be much better.

Sprint's LTE rollout continues, and the company hopes to have 12,000 sites on air by the end of this year. Its planned shutdown of 9,600 Nextel sites — one third of the network — is now complete, with the rest of the network set to switch off by June 30th 2013. So the gears are indeed turning, but we can't imagine Sprint will be able to sustain such large losses for too many more quarters.

Update: Shareholders have historically had a lot to say about Sprint CEO Dan Hesse's support for the company's daring $15.5 billion investment into the iPhone. During the call, Hesse seemed very optimistic about the short-term popularity of Apple's handset on the network, saying "calls to [customer] care are significantly lower than on other devices. Service and repair and returns are significantly lower than on other devices. So all of the early life metrics tell us that we made the right decision."

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