Sprint Retains No. 3 U.S. Mobile Carrier Spot Over T-Mobile

Sprint's Q4 2014 revenue figure is down 7 percent to $8.28 billion from $8.88 billion one year ago, as the company's Q4 loss increases to $224 million and 6 cents per share, according to the company.

Sprint, T-Mobile Q4 revenue, smartphones, mobile carriers

Sprint continues to keep its coveted No. 3 ranking in the U.S. mobile carrier market over T-Mobile, but its losses continue compared with the same quarter one year ago, based on the company's fourth-quarter 2014 results, which it announced on May 5.

Sprint reported $8.28 billion in revenue for the quarter ended March 31, which is down 7 percent from the $8.88 billion that was recorded for the same period one year ago. Sprint also reported a net loss of $224 million for the quarter, compared with a net loss of $151 million one year ago, according to the figures. The company's loss per share increased to $0.06 per share in the quarter, compared with a loss per share of $0.04 one year ago.

Yet despite that disappointing news, the war for third place in the U.S. mobile carrier rankings continues to go Sprint's way as the company gained a reported 1.2 million net customer additions, giving it 57.1 million customers for the quarter, compared with T-Mobile's 56.8 million customers, which was announced in late April. T-Mobile had actually slightly overtaken Sprint for the No. 3 spot for about a week until the latest Sprint numbers were reported, according to an earlier eWEEK story. T-Mobile was briefly up to 56.8 million customers last week, which surpassed the 55.9 million customers reported by Sprint back in February. Verizon Wireless and AT&T, respectively, continue to lead the U.S. mobile market by quite a healthy margin.

"I am proud of the team for successfully executing the first phase of our strategy to stop the decline in customers," Marcelo Claure, Sprint's CEO, said in a statement. "We are now one quarter into the second phase, focusing on attracting more quality customers, retaining our customers through a better customer experience and continuously improving the network. As a result, Sprint platform net additions were the highest in nearly three years, postpaid churn dropped by 46 basis points sequentially, and the network received more awards in major markets, all of which will position the company for profitable growth."

According to the Q4 figures, Sprint's postpaid customer churn rate, for customers who have contracts with Sprint, dropped to 1.84 percent, which is down from 2.11 percent in the same period one year ago.

Sprint previously saw its third-quarter 2014 net loss more than double to $2.4 billion, up from a net loss of $1.04 billion for the same period one year prior, back in February, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Sprint added some 967,000 new wireless customers in Q3, but the company's net operating revenue fell by 1.8 percent to $8.97 billion, down from the $9.14 billion that was received for the same quarter one year prior.

In comparison, T-Mobile also recently reported mixed financial results for the first quarter of 2015, with a 13.1 percent revenue increase to $7.78 billion, but a loss of $63 million compared with the same quarter one year ago, according to an eWEEK report. At the same time, the company reduced its customer churn rate to a T-Mobile record low rate of 1.3 percent. The April 28 earnings announcement was a bit of a contrast to the company's fourth-quarter 2014 earnings results that were announced in February, when T-Mobile raked in a profit of $101 million and Q4 revenue of $8.15 billion. Overall, at the end of Q1, T-Mobile had 56.8 million total customers, up from 49.1 million customers one year ago, according to the company. In the first quarter, T-Mobile sold 8 million new smartphones to customers, which was an increase of 16 percent over the same quarter one year ago.

For T-Mobile and Sprint, which have been fighting for market share behind Verizon and AT&T for a long time, the rivalry increased in recent months as T-Mobile CEO John Legere has often boasted about how his company has or would soon surpass Sprint to take over the No. 3 spot. Legere made such comments during a recent earnings call and at a press event in New York in March.