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Sprint Loses Less Money, More Subscribers

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spr_hor_k_rSprint (s S) today reported a loss of $1.62 billion, which looks much better than the nearly $30 billion loss it reported a year ago at this time, thanks to its writedown of Nextel. However, the carrier is still struggling with subscriber losses (it plans to cut 8,000 jobs), and it’s unclear if the launch of the Palm Pre phone, the Clear WiMAX network and a competitive prepaid calling plan can save it.

Sprint reported sales of $8.4 billion and ended the quarter with 49.3 million subscribers after losing 1.3 million. Of those lost, 1.1 million were postpaid subscribers who have annual contracts with the carrier. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has been trying to stem the subscriber exodus since his arrival — and had said it should ease at the end of 2008. Instead Sprint saw about 4.6 million subscribers defect in the last year, with 2.6 million leaving in the second half.

To attract customers, Sprint hopes to launch the new Palm Pre phone in the second first half of 2009, and is also releasing competitive calling plans, including a $149.99 monthly plan for unlimited data on laptops and phones, including unlimited voice and texts. On the prepaid side, Sprint introduced a $50 plan with unlimited voice and data through its Boost Mobile subsidiary. However, yesterday T-Mobile launched a $50-a-month prepaid plan in San Francisco that has some analysts warning of a price war among the smaller carriers. That’s good for consumers, but bad for Sprint, which is fighting for survival on far too many fronts.

15 Responses to “Sprint Loses Less Money, More Subscribers”

  1. Everyone (developers) likes the pre. It takes very little time to develop apps for it. The apps are built in HTML, CSS, and Javascript so basically they’re like websites – that easy to write. Pandora built their app for the Pre in 3 days.

    Google, facebook, myspace, the list goes on, will all have apps for the pre before it’s out. And all of the contact lists within each (google, facebook, etc.) will all automatically syn with the Pre’s contact list so that you get all of the info about your contacts automatically from their facebook profile, myspace profile, and potentially any other service that makes a compatible app.

    My guess is that you will see just as many apps for the Pre as the iphone within 6-9 months. Several thousand apps within a few months. They’re that easy to build for the Palm OS.

    This news kinda sucks because I just signed up for a more expensive 2 yr contract with ATT because I didn’t like the sprint prices – which are presently too high for family plans where you have to pay 20.00 a month for extra phones.

  2. Appears that Google likes the Palm Pre – Palm Pre runs Google Maps

    We got a little last minute surprise from Google at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Google’s VP of engineering, Vic Gundotra showed “one of his favorite devices”, the Palm Pre, running a webapp version of Google Maps coded entirely in HTML5. It acted exactly like you would expect a stand-alone app to act including multi-touch functionality like pinching, panning and zooming.

    The Google Maps webapp relies on HTML5’s AppCache, GeoLocation and Database standards to keep the offline app running when there is no Internet connection, such as when traveling in an airplane or out of cellular range

  3. A 30 billion dollar loss to a 1.6 billion dollar loss. Seems to me Sprint is making a huge positive leap. The problem is all of those gains will be cancelled out with the state of the current economic conditions. It will be tough to repeat those gains in 09.