Sprint Nextel curbed its losses and continued to narrow postpaid churn in the fourth quarter. Sprint’s losses totaled $980 million, or 34 cents per share, compared with year-ago losses of $1.62 billion, or 57 cents per share.
Sprint lowered its churn to 2.11 percent. That’s down from 2.16 percent in the year-ago quarter and 2.17 percent in the previous quarter.
Sprint ended the quarter with a customer base of 48.1 million customers, compared with 48.3 million at the end of the third quarter of 2009. Those numbers include 34 million postpaid subscribers (26 million on CDMA, 7.3 million on iDEN, and 725,000 Power Source users who use both networks); 10.7 million prepaid subscribers (5.7 million on iDEN and 5 million on CDMA); and almost 3.5 million wholesale and affiliate subscribers, all of whom use Sprint’s CDMA network.
Wireless postpaid ARPU for the quarter declined year-over-year and sequentially from about $56 to approximately $55. The company attributes the year-over-year decline to a drop in usage and roaming, partially offset by reductions in credits issued to customers resulting from an improved customer experience.
Prepaid churn, for the company’s Boost service, in the fourth quarter of 2009 was 5.56 percent, compared with 8.2 percent in the year-ago period and 6.65 percent in the third quarter of 2009. Sprint said the improvement in churn is due to increased subscriber additions related to Boost’s new unlimited offerings.
Sprint has done a lot this past quarter to expand its device lineup. During the fourth quarter, the company added the HTC Hero, Samsung Intrepid, Motorola Debut, Samsung Moment, Palm Pixi and Blackberry Curve 8530.
In January, Sprint launched the Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot by Sierra Wireless, LG Lotus Elite, Motorola Brute i680 and announced availability of LG Rumor Touch. In addition, Skiff has signed a multi-year agreement with Sprint to provide 3G connectivity for Skiff’s dedicated e-reading devices in the United States.
Sprint forecast improved losses in 2010 for both postpaid and total subscriber numbers as compared with 2009.
Shares of Sprint were down more than 7 percent in early morning trading to $3.32.