Sprint Tops Subscriber Estimates, Awaits T-Mobile Deal Decision

(Bloomberg) -- Sprint Corp. exceeded wireless subscriber growth estimates in its fiscal fourth quarter as promotions and freebies helped lure new customers -- good news as investors wait to learn if U.S. regulators will approve the company’s $26.5 billion takeover by T-Mobile US Inc.

  • The No. 4 national wireless carrier added 169,000 regular monthly customers. which included a mix of watches, tablets and hotspots. But the company lost 189,000 monthly phone subscribers, the most lucrative customer group. Analysts expected a loss of 71,000 total customers, and a drop of 148,000 phone customers, based on an average of seven estimates.

Key Insights

  • Even with the gains, Sprint and its parent SoftBank Group Corp. still face big risks if the T-Mobile deal fails. Sprint will be left alone with $39 billion in debt and few resources available to keep up with the industry’s costly upgrade to 5G network technology.
  • The carrier has been treading water by cutting costs and mortgaging assets as it awaits rulings from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department’s antitrust division. The companies extended the deal deadline by three months as the review continues.
  • The company posted a net loss of $2.17 billion, or 53 cents a share, for the quarter, including a goodwill impairment of $2 billion. Sales rose 4.4 percent to $8.44 billion, beating the $8.19 billion average of analysts’ estimates.
  • The company also announced its first 5G markets -- Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington -- with service to start by the end of June.

Market Reaction

  • Sprint shares gained as much as 1.2 percent in extended trading. The stock is up more than 8 percent since the deal was announced just over a year ago.

Get More

  • For the Sprint release, click here.
  • For Sprint’s debt maturities, click here.

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