Sprint Posts $151M Q1 Loss, but Says It's Making Progress
Sprint says its network rip-and-replace efforts drove away customers in Q1, but Spark, LTE and Framily plans may help bring them back.Sprint's message continues to be: We're getting there. The carrier, the first of its peers to offer 4G services, albeit via WiMax technology, has been racing to dismantle the old Nextel and 3G networks and roll out Long Term Evolution (LTE), as well as Sprint Spark, which uses a combination of network and on-device technologies to deliver wireless speeds that Sprint says surpasses the speeds of any U.S. carrier today and will be three times as fast by 2015. By midyear, Sprint plans to have LTE available to 250 million people, and over the next three years, it plans to have Spark in 100 major cities. During the first quarter of this year, however, its construction dust continued to drive away customers. It lost 231,000 postpaid subscribers during the quarter, related to disruptions from the network overhaul, it said, and 364,000 Sprint platform prepaid customers, primarily due to "changes in the Lifeline program recertification process that affected the Assurance Wireless subscriber base." "Churn should come down as we complete the voice network build-out," Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said during the April 29 call, adding that he's "confident" Sprint is building a solid foundation that customers will come back to.
In areas where the network build-out is complete, results have been "encouraging," he added.