1.4M iPhone sales help Sprint into profitability, but carrier still squeezed in the middle


Sprint has reported a move into profit, posting a Q3 profit of $383M, contrasting with a $767 loss in the same quarter last year. The carrier reported that it sold 1.4M iPhones, representing 28 percent of its total smartphone sales of 5M.

While its decision to start carrying the iPhone clearly helped it reduce defections to other carriers, it still reported a net loss of 313,000 customers in the quarter. CNET reports that the carrier appears to be finding itself squeezed in the middle, between Verizon and AT&T at the top end and T-Mobile at the bottom.

But as the nation’s third-largest carrier by subscriber, Sprint finds itself in a bind. The company can’t compete with the reach and resources of larger Verizon Wireless and AT&T, which are locking up the high-end, premium customers. But on the low end, T-Mobile has gotten more aggressive with one promotional offer after another and now boasts an LTE network that covers more areas than Sprint.

Full results below the fold … 

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Wireless service revenue of $7.3 billion grew year-over-year for the 13th consecutive quarter
Best-ever Sprint platform postpaid service revenue of $5.8 billion
Best-ever Sprint platform postpaid ARPU of $64.28
Net income of $1.1 billion in predecessor period and net loss of $699 million for successor period results in combined quarterly net income of $383 million
Operating Loss of $398 million
Adjusted EBITDA* of $1.34 billion, up 5 percent year-over-year
Smartphones account for record 92 percent of Sprint platform postpaid handset sales
Network Vision deployment on track to cover 200 million people with 4G LTE by the end of 2013
Introduced innovative new pricing programs
Unlimited, My WaySM and My All-InSM Plans
Sprint Unlimited GuaranteeSM
Sprint One UpSM
The company’s third quarter 2013 earnings conference call will be held at 8 a.m. ET today. Participants may dial 800-938-1120Call: 800-938-1120 in the U.S. or Canada (706-634-7849Call: 706-634-7849 internationally) and provide the following ID: 72584884 or may listen via the Internet at www.sprint.com/investors.

Additional information about results can be found in the “Quarterly Investor Update” posted on our Investor Relations website at www.sprint.com/investors.

Financial results in the enclosed tables for 2013 include a predecessor period from July 1, 2013, through the closing of the SoftBank transaction on July 10, 2013, and a successor period for the three months ended September 30, 2013. In order to present financial results in a way that offers investors a more meaningful calendar period-to-period comparison, we have combined the current year results of operations for the predecessor and successor periods. In addition, information provided with respect to forecasts of financial measures is provided on a combined basis. The enclosed remarks are in reference to the unaudited combined period unless otherwise noted. For additional information please reference the section titled Financial Measures.

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), October 30, 2013 – Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S) today reported third quarter 2013 results including continued year-over-year growth in wireless service revenue for the 13th consecutive quarter. Quarterly net income was $383 million, operating loss was $398 million, and Adjusted EBITDA* was $1.34 billion.

“During the third quarter Sprint platform postpaid service revenue and ARPU once again hit record levels and we continue to make great strides in our 4G LTE rollout,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO. “We expect our network investments will bring customers greater speeds and capacity and, when combined with our unique unlimited for life offers, will improve our competitive positioning.”

Sprint Platform Highlights

The company recorded best-ever Sprint platform postpaid ARPU and service revenue. Sprint sold nearly 5 million smartphones in the third quarter with postpaid smartphone sales mix reaching record levels. Sprint sold nearly 1.4 million iPhones® during the quarter of which 40 percent were to new customers. For the quarter, the Sprint platform lost 360,000 postpaid subscribers and gained 84,000 prepaid subscribers and 181,000 wholesale and affiliate subscribers.

Net Income and Operating Loss Include Transaction-Related Impacts; Adjusted EBITDA* Improved 5 percent Year-Over-Year

Quarterly net income was $383 million and operating loss for the quarter was $398 million. Net income and operating loss included pre-tax expenses of $217 million primarily related to the Clearwire and SoftBank transactions including fees, severance and exit costs. Additionally, net income included a one-time, non-cash, $1.4 billion gain, net of taxes related to the write-up of Sprint’s previously held investment in Clearwire.

For the third quarter 2012, net loss was $767 million and operating loss was $231 million, including pre-tax, accelerated depreciation of $397 million primarily associated with the Nextel platform shutdown.

Adjusted EBITDA* of $1.34 billion improved 5 percent year-over-year as growth in Sprint platform service revenue, network savings resulting from the Nextel platform shutdown and lower net subsidy expense were partially offset by the loss of Nextel platform revenue and transaction-related dilution including the impact from purchase price allocations of approximately $125 million and the inclusion of 100 percent of Clearwire’s net loss.

Network Vision Surpasses 26,000 Sites on Air

Sprint continued to make strong progress on the Network Vision deployment in the quarter and currently has more than 26,000 Network Vision sites on air compared to more than 20,000 reported with second quarter results. Additionally, Sprint began realizing significant cost savings from the shutdown of the Nextel platform including tower rent, backhaul and utilities.

As part of Network Vision, Sprint has launched 4G LTE in 230 total markets across the country and expects to provide 200 million people with 4G LTE by the end of 2013.

Sprint Continues to Lead with Innovative Plans

During the quarter, Sprint also continued its commitment to offer customers the best value in wireless by launching new Unlimited, My Way and My All-In plans featuring unlimited talk, text and data while on the Sprint network. Customers signing up for these plans are also eligible for the new Sprint Unlimited Guarantee, which offers customers unlimited talk, text and data while on the Sprint network, for the life of the line of servicei. Finally, Sprint began offering Sprint One Up, a new upgrade program that gives customers unlimited talk, text and high speed data while on the Sprint Network plus the ability to upgrade their smartphone every 12 monthsii.

Sprint’s Leadership Continues to Receive Accolades

Third parties continued to recognize Sprint and its brands in the third quarter. Sprint was recognized as an “Enterprise Trusted Advisor” within the new Nemertes Enterprise Trusted Advisor™ program. Boost Mobile once again received the highest ranking in the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Non-Contract StudySM, Volume 2. It was Boost’s second consecutive highest ranking for Non-Contract Providers and sixth J.D. Power award overall since 2011. Virgin Mobile was the top rated wireless carrier in the 2013 Temkin Customer Service Ratings.

Sprint also received top honors for its environmental efforts. The company was the only telecommunications company named to CDP’s S&P 500 Climate Performance Leadership Index, which highlights companies that demonstrate strategies committed to improving their impact on the environment. Sprint was also named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) North America, which tracks the corporate sustainability performance of the top 20 percent of the 600 largest companies by industry in the United States and Canada.


The company continues to expect 2013 Adjusted EBITDA* to be between $5.1 billion and $5.3 billion including the dilutive effects of the SoftBank and Clearwire transactions.

The company continues to expect 2013 capital expenditures of approximately $8 billion.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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