Sprints Losing Streak Continues

To no one’s surprise, Sprint Nextel Corp. continued its losing streak in the first quarter of 2008.

The struggling provider today reported net losses that hit $505 million, up from $211 million a year earlier. Wireless sales fell 9 percent but wireline numbers, fueled by demand for IP services, grew 2 percent.

Sprint’s new CEO, Dan Hesse, said the weak wireless results were expected.

“While the business will continue to face challenges in the short term, we are making progress in methodically attacking the sources of our performance issues,” he said in a prepared statement.

More than 1 million postpaid subscribers canceled their wireless service in the first quarter, as did 543,000 prepaid users. Postpaid churn hit 2.45 percent, compared to 2.3 percent in the first and fourth quarters of 2007.

Sprint is hoping its new “Simply Everything” plan and WiMAX partnership will help improve second quarter results.

Hesse also told analysts during a conference call that Sprint is “working aggressively to reinvigorate Nextel.” He wouldn’t comment on rumors that Sprint wants to sell Nextel, emphasizing instead that Sprint later this year will release new iDEN devices including a BlackBerry with Wi-Fi capabilities.

Still, Hesse said, “nothing is off the table completely” in terms of options for handling Nextel.

Sprint’s shares had dropped 1.49 percent by mid-day, trading at $9.24.


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