Sprint Will Expand Spark LTE Service as it Announces Fourth Quarter 2013 Earnings

By Joe Rizzo February 11, 2014

Today we have the results of Sprint’s fourth quarter 2013 earnings. The numbers reveal that Sprint added a total of 682,000 customers during the fourth quarter. The total number of subscribers for 2013 comes in at 53.9 million.

According to Sprint, this figure represents its highest level to date. In addition to its customers, Sprint revealed that it sold 5.6 million smartphones in its last quarter. This brings the total smartphone count to 20.5 million for the year.

Sprint has been facing some pretty aggressive competition for new subscribers. In fact all the Tier 1 companies are experiencing a heated competition. When T-Mobile unveiled the Un-carrier plan, it changed the playing field.

Add to the new no contract plans the 4G LTE build outs that have picked up speed lately and you can see what the game plan looks like. Sprint has been lagging behind AT&T and Verizon when it comes to LTE coverage. Faster speeds in more locations are what people want.

Last year Sprint posted a net loss of 360,000 postpaid subscriptions, this is in comparison to a net gain of 410,000 the previous year. So what do the figures look like for 2013? The 682,000 customers mentioned above breaks down to 58,000 postpaid subscribers, 322,000 prepaid users and 302,000 wholesale customers.

Financially speaking, it looks like Sprint’s fourth quarter results had a net loss of $1 billion. While it is a loss, it is not as bad as the previous year when the net loss came in at $1.3 billion. In addition, Sprint also had an operating loss of $576 million. Oddly enough, this is seen as a 22 percent improvement year-over-year.

Despite the negative numbers, it does look like Sprint had a decent year. The company added quite a large number of subscribers, The Sprint Spark and HD Voice services have expanded to cover 14 markets by including Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Sprint’s LTE coverage is also slowing increasing, although not quite at the rate of AT&T and Verizon. Othere figures show that 95 percent of Sprints postpaid customers purchased smartphones, compared to 93 percent at AT&T and 88.9 percent at Verizon.

However, it should be noted that Sprint is the only major U.S. carrier that posted a fourth quarter loss for 2013. At this point, the carrier is not hurting for cash, thanks to the pockets of its new parent company SoftBank.

In fact, there is a rumor that SoftBank may be interesting in T-Mobile. Considering how much SoftBank had to go through just to acquire Sprint, I’m not sure if regulators would go for it. As far as Sprint CEO, Dan Hesse is concerned, he said, "I've said consistently for some time that I believe that further consolidation in the U.S. wireless industry — outside of the big two, outside of AT&T and Verizon because they're so large — would be good for the dynamic, good for the country and good for consumers."

Later this morning, Sprint will be holding a conference call to discuss its earnings.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

TechZone360 Contributing Writer

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