Sprint Reports $2.38 Billion Loss, Adds Nearly 1 Million Subscribers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (The Kansas City Star/TNS) -

Sprint Corp. reported a $2.38 billion loss during the last three months of 2014, as it recorded a $1.9 billion reduction in the “Sprint trade name” value.

The trade-name loss did not involve the loss of cash but still pushed the company’s financial report deeply into the red. A year ago, Sprint lost $1.04 billion in the same quarter.

The company previously said it had added subscribers during the quarter, and provided more detail Thursday. Its total count climbed to 55.929 million subscribers, which is 892,000 more than at the end of September.

The total allows Sprint to continue its claim as the third-largest U.S. wireless company, topping the 55 million subscribers at rival T-Mobile US Inc. T-Mobile has been adding subscribers at an aggressive pace for more than a year and substantially closed the gap between the carriers.

Sprint fared better in the quarter against its rivals than it had through much of the rest of the year. It has been running a promotion that offers to cut in half the wireless rate plans of Verizon and AT&T customers who switch to Sprint.

“I am encouraged by the progress and improving trends in the Sprint business,” Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son said in the company’s announcement. He said Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure “and his team have developed, and are executing against, a clear plan that will make Sprint more competitive and better positioned for long-term growth.”

Sprint’s customer gains came despite a decline in the number of its most valuable phone subscribers, which generate the most revenues. And the average revenue per customer declined in the quarter to below $60 for those who are the most creditworthy and are billed for using Sprint’s service rather than being required to pay in advance.

Revenues in the quarter were $8.97 billion, down from $9.14 billion previously.

The report covers the third quarter of Sprint’s fiscal year, which it changed to end March 31 – the same time as the fiscal year of its parent company. Tokyo-based SoftBank Corp. owns 80 percent of Sprint.