Sprint Posts Solid Q1’11 Numbers, But Still Losing Money


Sprint just announced their numbers for Q1 2011. There are a couple of different things I expected to see here, but I won’t get into that. Highlights? Why, of course! The company added 1.1 million new subscribers this quarter which they’re calling their most ever in five years. A majority of those customers are pre-paid, but the amount of postpaid customers added (310,000) isn’t too bad. Of the 1.1 million, 732,000 are retail subscribers while the rest are wholesale and affiliate additions.

They also posted great looking overall revenue and service revenue numbers at $8.3 billion and $6.6 billion, but this was only a 3% increase since the same quarter in 2010. What’s more is that they were still unable to turn profit as they lost $439 million, but it’s worthy to note they had to pay back a $1.6 billion debt this quarter. They have no other debts to take care of until March 2012.

Sprint’s expected to keep things rolling as far as devices go as they look to launch America’s first 3D phone alongside other Android-based products that should be just as much of a success as the original HTC EVO 4G. If you want the full results from Sprint’s latest number crunching session, head over to their site.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. How long has it been since they actually turned a profit? No wonder they want the government to step in and keep them viable.

  2. Wow, that is very impressive considering the 1.6 billion debt. Good to see Sprint finally getting some legs. They are now big enough of the market that they will always have investors willing to keep them going to compete with Verizon and AT&T. Viva la unlimited plan!

    1. Paying back debt does not affect net income. It only affects their cashflows. So it was a little misleading for Quentyn to juxtapose the 439 million in net loses against the 1.6 billion in debt repayment. In other words, if Sprint didn’t have that 1.6 Billion in debt to repay they still would have been 439 million in the red (depending on interest expense of course).

      1. You sir are correct.

  3. And how much did they invest in rolling out new 4G markets? Thats right, $0!!

    1. …because Clearwire went bankrupt…

      1. Okay, and? They cant make a profit even though they didnt invest in their network. Verizon made a significant investment in their network, but still managed to turn a rather large profit. Other then the debt payment, what did they spend money on. They still wouldnt have made any real money even if they didnt have the debt. And, I know, sprint is a little bit cheaper for plans, but there is a huge differance in their profits.

        1. did you read the article? they paid $1.6 billion in debt… had they not have to pay that debt they would have made a profit of a little over $1.15 billion

          1. And, they didnt invest in their network. Im pretty sure verizon spent more then 1.6b on their network, yet managed to make over a billion in profits. Besides, they had the debt for a reason, right? They didnt decide to just “give” that money away, it was their financial obligation. Now I ask again, how long has it been since they actually turned a profit?

          2. If you’re talking about 4G, Sprint COULDN’T invest in it because of the situation with Clear. Investing in a bankrupt (or even almost bankrupt) company generally isn’t a good business decision.
            If it hadn’t been for the debt, they very well may have turned a profit this quarter, as the simple math supports.

          3. And since you like to live in a hypothetical world, had they invested in their network, they would have lost even more money.

          4. @squiddy, key word there IF. Fact is, they had the debt for a reason. Like I said before, IF I didnt have any bills Id be rich. Get it?

          5. Wow, what a hypocrite you are. You have the “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” mentality, and that just isn’t the case. Had they invested in a drowning company, yes they would have lost money. But lets be honest here, who REALLY invests in a drowning company?? Virtually no one. Had they not carried Clear’s debt, they would have made a profit. Simple as that.

          6. Debt and expense are not the same thing. Paying off a debt has nothing to do with Profit. Accounting 101.

          7. A debt is an expense. Sorry. They had to pay it for a reason. The point is, they are unable to be profitable. Accounting 101.

          8. And where do you think Sprint gets the 1.6 billion from to pay the debt?

            Sales – cost of goods sold = profit
            Profit – expense ( payroll, financial obligation, utilities, rent, etc ) = gross profit

            Gross profit is bottom line buddy. That’s accounting 101.

          9. Bottom line is a 439 million dollar loss.Accoujnting 101, They failed to make a profit. Yet again..

          10. Debt is not an Expense. It is a financial obligation that arises from not paying an expense or the purchase of an asset on credit. When assets are used, then they become an expense. @ Spoon, Sales-COGS=Gross Profit. GP-Operating Expenses = Net Income. You were wrong to include financial obligations as expense. Expenses are what are consumed to produce Revenue (Sales). To think of the debt as an expense is to double count expenses. To simplify, Sprint has been running accounting losses. They did not previously pay for all said losses, then this builds debt or future/present obligations on past Expenses. So to say today that if they did not have to pay debt would increase today’s income (which is a negative 439 million) is incorrect. They are paying back losses from the past and does not affect the present. PS. I am an Accounting Professor

        2. To back up Darkstalker187, “What’s more is that they were still unable to turn profit as they lost $439 million, but it’s worthy to note they had to pay back a $1.6 billion debt this quarter.” Without that $1.6 BILLION debt, they would have more than made up their $439 MILLION loss. It’s pretty basic math. 1.6 billion (debt to Clear) – 439 million (economic loss) = 1.161 billion IN PROFIT. Still believe Sprint wouldn’t have made a profit without the debt?

          1. Not a significant one, and the fact is, it was THEIR debt. IF I didnt have any bills, Id be rich!!!!

          2. 1.161 BILLION isn’t “significant”? What obscenely rich country do you live in?

          3. The one where verizon makes more then that while simultaniously rolling out a multi billion dollar LTE network.

          4. Squiddy what nisme is implying that he knows Sprint can turn a profit via no debt (1.6 million payment) but what he’s trying to get you al to understand is that Sprint didn’t invest in their 4g nwtwork. And yes I understand they are still stuck to clear and ita stupid to insist in a sinking ship.

            Unleass Sprint is bound by Sprint-clear contract that they can’t development their LTE network then ok. if they are not nisme is right.

            Even without the debt payment. 1.5 billion gross profit bit no money was invested on the soon to be switched over LTE . While VZW reported over 1 billion profit and STILL invest multi billion in heir LTE network.

            If Sprint played their debt + invest in LTE .. Sprint would be in the red even more by a substantial amount

            Sprint has a long road ahead of them.

    2. Sprint PCS owns about 54% of Clear in terms if investment dollars, giving them majority stake and ownership in the fledgling wimax provider. They have also recently pledged to invest more funds in Clear ($300M in 2011, $550M in 2012 and an additional $175M for disputes over services already rendered) totaling over $1 billion. So tell me…….what was it you said again about Sprint not investing in Clear? They have kept Clear afloat, and they did it with people laughing in their faces….calling for an LTE switch. But why? Wimax is a very promising “4G” technology and Wimax 2 is backwards compatible and has just been approved by the IEEE as a true 4G standard. Provided it will take some time to get the new standard into the hands of end users, wimax is more than sufficient for now. Especially considering this whole Verizon 4G LTE outage. Mark my words, Sprint is well on their way to being a powerful contender in the 4G race despite them losing ground on their head start…….and that’s my 2¢.

      1. So how many new 4G markets were they able to roll out? By the time they roll out any new markets, verizon will have blanketed the nation with 4G that is oat the very least, # times faster.

        1. Stop talking. You just have a case of completely circular logic. Sprint COULDN’T invest in their 4G network because of Clear’s bankruptcy, as I have said.

          1. When was the last time they turned a profit? It was THEIR debt. They own the majority stake of clear. These are all facts. Not IFs. Fact is they havent turned a profit in a very long time, THEIR businuss decisions have made them unprofitable for years.It isnt my logic, it is sprints that has made them unprofitable.

          2. And as socal has pointed out, they are putting money into clear now and in the future. Now, how many new markets have they opened up? When was the last time they turned a profit? And, according to you, investing in Clear isnt a very wise businuss decision, yet that is exactly what they plan on doing.

          3. Ohh and one last thing, you say that if they had invested in clear then they would have lost money. The biggest flaws here are, they DID lose money, and they didnt roll out any new markets.

  4. Sprint is in debt? From what? New towers? I hope they don’t go under. I’m with Verizon now but sprint is pretty much my next alternative. Especially if verizon keeps releasing phones I’m not interested in…

    1. If I understand this correctly, Sprint itself isn’t in debt, but Clearwire the provider of Sprint’s 4G is. Given that they are in a partnership and all that, what affects one, generally affects the other.

      1. It’s not just Clear’s network that has affected Sprint’s pockets. The acquisition of Nextel has a lot to do with it, not to mention all the subscribers they lost a few years back due to just poor customer service. However, Sprints turned a lot of that around. That being said, until they completely phase out iden (which they are currently in the process of doing), they will still be in major debt. I for one can’t wait until they’ve finished and reallocated all that spectrum to enhance their current networks.

  5. I cant wait for the Evo 3D

  6. Ray, where you at ?

  7. Sprint’s not going to make a profit as long as iDen is kept alive…..They need to kill it their arent even 10M subs using iDen today….


  8. Expect even more customers as the AT2, or AT&T&T deal goes through.

  9. Eventually all will pan out correctly and sprint will be fine and as the days move forward they will make the profits they need to make.

  10. I like turtles.

  11. Why no 2011 EVO 4G? Why release a dopey gimmick 3-D phone? You know they’re just going to mess up anyway and release a phone with a 30-minute battery life or that drops every call until the 3rd or 4th update…

  12. I’ll never understand why people on other carriers hate on Sprint so much. Are you mad I pay less for unlimited data than you do with your caps and throttle plans? I love how people say Sprint has a crappy network and coverage. Sprint has roaming agreements with Verizon, so if they have a signal so do I. My EVO runs great on 3g, so I no I’m not using there LTE, but my gingerbread running phone is fast enough for me. Sprint staying in the game is to all cell consumers benefit. Options are good to have. Ask most t-mobile customers where they are heading to if the merger goes through. All the threads I’ve read online at least 3 out of 4 said Sprint. Would be good article to see a poll on where t-mobile customers would go if they had to switch carriers. Just a thought.

    1. I dont hate sprint. I was just pointing out that they are unable to make a profit. And, Sprint cant touch my plan price. I have also never been capped or throttled. As far as you roaming, that is for voice. Where does that leave your “fine w 3G”?

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