Sprint scrapes by in Q1 2012 with 1.5 million iPhone sales, sees $863 million net loss

An iPhone 4 with a Sprint logo

Sprint announced their first quarter results today, seeing an operating loss of $255 million, and a net loss of $863 million, but enjoyed 1.5 million iPhone sales, 44% of which were new customers. Last quarter, Sprint sold 1.8 million iPhones with a similar proportion of new additions. Seeing as Sprint added a net of 1 million new subscribers total in Q1 2012, 44% is a pretty significant portion. By comparison, AT&T enjoyed 4.3 million iPhone sales, while Verizon sold 3.2 million. That brings U.S. iPhone sales for the first quarter of 2012 to roughly 9 million. Here are Sprint's financial highlights.

  • Best ever Sprint platform postpaid ARPU increase of $4.03, or 6.9 percent, year-over-year drives Sprint platform wireless service revenue growth of 16 percent year-over-year
  • Operating loss of $255 million; Adjusted OIBDA* of $1.2 billion, which includes $104 million in Network Vision related operating expense
  • 263,000 postpaid net additions on the Sprint platform in the quarter – eighth consecutive quarter of postpaid subscriber growth on the Sprint platform
  • Total company net additions of more than 1 million for the sixth consecutive quarter
  • Strong iPhone sales of more than 1.5 million – 44 percent to new customers
  • Network Vision deployment continues on track
    • Continue to expect six major cities to launch 4G LTE by mid-year
    • Continue to expect 12,000 sites on air by end of 2012
    • To date work has begun on 25 percent of planned 2012 sites; 5 percent are on air
    • Nearly 1,300 iDEN sites taken off air to date; expect 9,600 total by the end of the third quarter

Sprint says that despite the customers the iPhone is bringing in, hardware subsidies are hitting them hard.

Sales expenses increased year-over-year primarily due to iPhone point-of- sale discounts (subsidy) for devices directly sold by the manufacturer to indirect dealers in which Sprint does not take device title, as well as higher postpaid gross additions. The impact from the iPhone was partially offset by improvements in sales channel mix with a larger portion of activations coming from direct retail channels.

Even though this quarter's loss was steeper than the $439 million Sprint lost in the first quarter of last year, it's not as bad as many analysts expected. Sprint launching their 4G network will be interesting, and set the stage for their support of an LTE-enabled iPhone 5 in the fall, assuming of course that they'll be able to afford it.

Any Sprint iPhone customers in the house? Is the unlimited data keeping you happy, or are you thinking of switching?

Source: Sprint

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Sprint scrapes by in Q1 2012 with 1.5 million iPhone sales, sees $863 million net loss

18 Comments

Where I live Sprint's service is really good, they are the only ones with signal at my house, and the plans are cheaper than going to Verizon or AT&T. So yeah we will be sticking with them for a while.

Love my Sprint iPhone!! Live outside of Philadelphia and rarely lose calls! Love the lower cost and the UNLIMITED data! Keep it up and I'm staying!!

Unlimited Data/Texting and a good price plan keeps me with Sprint. I wish that they had support for the iPad as well... I hate paying VZ for that!

Im loving my Sprint iPhone as well. Unlimited Data/Texting at a good price. Im mostly on wifi anyways. So yeah its great for me. And when I'm not on wifi, just knowing that as much as I text and on the net that I'm not being overcharged per MB or GB is sweet.

how do they lose so much money? Its like they are trying to fill a bucket of water with holes in it.

Spring can't keep bleeding money like this forever. The company needs to be re-structured and I wouldn't be surprised if they axed their "unlimited" everything when they do.

That Sprint buying Nextel plan was a huge bust...also Sprint should get rid of Boost Mobile...I think those two things are major parts of Sprint losing so much money...

I cannot wait for them to axe Nextel there is no need for it anymore. Thank god WiMAX is going to be axed and what they need to focus on is boosting there 3G and getting LTE out there.

Never dropped a call with sprint but can't say the same for their 3G. It is lacking in a lot of spots in central florida

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