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Sprint Reports Prepaid Gains, Postpaid Losses, Confirms Prepaid WiMAX

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse
Sprint Nextel Corp. released their first quarter financial results today. The company reported a loss of $225 million which is a smaller than expected.

There was a lot of good news in the report most of it related to prepaid.

Sprint's Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Assurance Wireless prepaid brands gained 489,000 customers during the quarter compared to a loss of 192,000 postpaid customers.

Wholesale (MVNO and affiliate like America Movil, PlatinumTel and Amazon, which uses Sprint to provide connectivity to Kindle eBook readers in the US) customers increased by 785,000.

Sprint ended the quarter with 56.103 million total subscribers, 15.278 million (27%) of whom are prepaid and 8.003 million (14%) are wholesale and affiliate subscribers.

Sprint says their Network Vision Project which involves shutting down iDEN service and upgrading cell sites to include LTE 4G capability as well increasing 3G capacity, coverage and speed is on track. 1,300 iDEN sites have been decommissioned to date with a total of 9,600 to be shut down by the end of the third quarter. Sprint has 600 new Network vision sites on air now and expects to have 12,000 live by the end of the year. The Network Vision Project will be completed in 2013.

Not surprisingly, the number of IDEN subscribers is down. 455,000 post paid and 381,000 prepaid iDEN customers left during the quarter. At the end of the quarter only 5.41 million iDEN subscribers remained, including 1.58 million prepaid Boost iDEN subscribers.

On the postpaid side Sprint says that 46% of the departing iDEN customers switched to Sprint CDMA service, which means 54% left Sprint completely. The company didn't provide a figure for the number of departing prepaid customers who switched to CDMA.

In his quarter end conference call with financial analysts, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse confirmed that Boost Mobile and Sprint would begin offering 4G WiMAX phones and service sometime in the second quarter which ends June 30th.

Sources: Sprint Nextel, Fierce Wireless

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