Sprint posted yet another tough quarter as its Nextel network continues to grind to a halt. The company lost 866,000 postpaid subscribers on the Nextel network and posted a loss of $767 million, more than doubling the $301 million loss it reported during the same period last year.
There are some signs of hope in the earnings report, however. The company sold 1.5 million iPhones during the quarter and added 410,000 users on the Sprint network, partially offsetting the Nextel losses.
Those iPhone sales pale compared to the 4.7 million iPhones AT&T said it sold during the same quarter, however, as my colleague Stacey Higginbotham points out. That tells me that Sprint’s truly unlimited plans aren’t enough of a differentiator against the behemoths AT&T and Verizon Wireless on one end and T-Mobile USA on the low end. I think it’s clear that the cash infusion and network synergies that Softbank’s $20.1 billion will bring aren’t sufficient to turn the company around completely. As Sprint continues to build out LTE, it will have to leverage the Softbank tie-up to offer devices and services that aren’t available from other major U.S. carriers. And that’s why I believe the intercontinental partnership will be a very good thing for U.S. consumers.