Mobile Carrier Report Card: Sprint, et. al Survive Hellish Quarter
February 8, 2012 3:42 PM
comment(s) - last by
Sprint posts big loss, but adds subscribers, bumps up LTE
Unless Deutsche Telekom AG's (
) T-Mobile USA pulls off a whopper of an earnings surprise later this month, Q4 2012 was a remarkably gloomy quarter for the U.S. cellphone industry.
I. Passing Grades for Sprint, Verizon -- a Mostly Bad Quarter for AT&T
Sprint Nextel Corp. (
competitors AT&T Inc. (
) and Verizon Wireless -- the joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. (
) and Vodafone Group Plc. (
) -- in reporting its earnings for the fourth calendar quarter of last year.
The results, compared and contrasted to AT&T and Verizon can be seen below:
Sprint had a quite a decent quarter compared to its competitors. While they all lost money, it was Sprint who posted the biggest percent gain in subscribers, the carrier's biggest growth since 2005.
Overall, roughly 720,000 of the new customers (40%) were iPhone purchasers. This offered somewhat of a vindication of its
taking on deep debt obligations
to get the iPhone from Apple, Inc. (
). While Sprint came in second to Verizon in revenue gains, it posted a far smaller net loss.
As a side note, Sprint reported 1.8 million iPhones sold -- a number that surpassed analyst expectations, but matched (precisely in sig. figs.)
my estimate from last month
. Coupled with the sales
successes at Verizon and AT&T
, this emphasizes just
how victorious the iPhone 4S was
in the U.S. in Q4 -- a surge that helped the U.S. smartphone maker
Electronic, Comp., Ltd. (
) in total 2011 smartphone sales.
Sprint's iPhone is selling well and defying the skeptics. [Image Source: Sprint]
However, there were some extenuating circumstances that contributed to its competitors' misfortune and may be making Sprint outlook look slightly rosier than it really was.
First, Verizon took a large pension charge and another one-time charge, which in turn plunged it into a relatively large lost. Likewise, AT&T's larger loss comes from the
$4B USD it wrote off
T-Mobile deal collapsed
. The loss covers some of the billions in cash and spectrum that AT&T owes T-Mobile under the negotiated terms of the failed deal. While it's unwise to say that AT&T and Verizon will be immune to future large losses, it's fair to say that their balance sheet looked worse than it really was.
And overall, it's important to keep in mind that all the carriers posted large losses in the quarter.
II. Sprint Charges Ahead With LTE
In related news Sprint showed that its wisely taking the necessary steps to build up an LTE (4G) network to stay competitive with AT&T and Verizon. Sprint initially had backed the WiMAX standard, a rival 4G specification that now looks to be going the way of the dinosaur.
two new cities for the program -- Baltimore, Mary. and Kansas City, Kans./Miss. The network had previously announced that Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, Texas along with Atlanta, Georgia would be the first cities to receive LTE. Now it looks like a six-city rollout is planned for "mid-2012".
Despite the loss of a potential
$15B USD payday
from LightSquared -- who now is facing ethics investigations
over campaign contributions to President Obama
-- Sprint is still hoping to scrape together enough cash to hoist a decent LTE network mid-year.
It announced a trio of devices that would be on the network -- the
popular Samsung Galaxy Nexus
(also on Verizon) and the new LG Viper LTE from LG Electronics Inc. (
The Galaxy Nexus [Image Source: Samsung]
The Viper is a new handset 4.0-inch all-touch Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich handset that features a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, but otherwise ho-hum specs.
The LG Viper LTE [Image Source: DroidMatters]
Sprint will also be offering a tri-capable hotspot from Sierra Wireless, Inc. (
) that's capable of handling 3G, "4G" (Sprint's name for WiMAX), and "4G LTE".
Company Senior Vice President Bob Azzi cheers the coming offerings, stating, "Sprint is investing in its CDMA network and delivering on our commitment to ensure customers experience superior wireless voice and data service at an unbeatable value."
III. T-Mobile's German Owner Plans to Beef Up Carrier for Survival Bid
With an estimated $3B USD in (almost) free cash in pocket from AT&T, and additional $1B USD worth of spectrum and roaming privileges also in hand, Deutsche Telekom -- the parent of T-Mobile USA -- is starting to think that its U.S. property may be capable of independent survival, after all.
The carrier is reportedly is planning a major (in the billions) sale of debt (bonds) to fund T-Mobile's growth and network expansion.
Currently T-Mobile is in distant fourth, although the exact numbers won't be known until 2/20/2012, when T-Mobile USA gives its earnings guidance. The carrier previously had an estimated 33.8m subscribers -- roughly 40 percent less than Sprint, and only (appr.) a third of the subscribers of Verizon/AT&T, each.
T-Mobile is luring some customers in
offering free "4G" phones
, but the offer is deceptive as
you're getting an outdated HSPA+ device
. T-Mobile thus far is the only major U.S. carrier not to have announced plans for (or deployed) LTE -- true "4G".
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Such a waste
2/9/2012 1:10:06 PM
In most other countries, the government owns the infrastructure and licenses it to private companies to use.
This way everything is standardized and you can choose a carrier based on phone preferences, support, and price. All carriers theoretically have the same coverage and service quality, which is generally regarded as excellent compared to the United States where each carrier manages their own networks with different coverage and quality in different geographical locations.
Unfortunately such a schema would never work here because of all the people crying for a "smaller government" to stay out of the "private sector" when these are the same people who ironically cry that the government should be able to tell a women what she can and can't do with her vagina. Hypocrites.
RE: Such a waste
2/9/2012 3:17:07 PM
I'm picturing what a woman can do with her vagina involving a cell phone......
RE: Such a waste
2/9/2012 3:52:24 PM
I'd patent that before Apple does...
"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
T-Mobile Offers Free 4G Phones After MIR This Weekend
February 8, 2012, 10:01 AM
Apple Beat Android-Leader Samsung in 2011 Global Smartphone Sales
February 2, 2012, 7:23 PM
IPhone Crushes Android in U.S. Q4, Outsells Android 4-to-1 on AT&T
January 26, 2012, 3:09 PM
Apple's iPhone Outsells All Android Phones Combined at Verizon
January 24, 2012, 4:18 PM
Bribes and LTE: the Bizarre Case of LightSquared, Obama, and the USAF
January 24, 2012, 1:25 PM
UK Teachers Want Parents to Cut-Off Their Children's Internet, Tablet Use at Night
April 17, 2014, 3:40 PM
Quick Note: Chrome Remote Desktop App for Android Launches
April 17, 2014, 9:26 AM
Report: Apple Plans to Integrate Shazam Song Finding Functionality into Siri
April 17, 2014, 9:15 AM
Bring Your Own Battery: LG Isai FL Likely is G3, First U.S. Quad-HD Android
April 16, 2014, 7:38 PM
Project Moonshine: Google's Plan to Flatten Android App Icons Leaks
April 16, 2014, 1:46 PM
Apple, Microsoft, and Major U.S. Wireless Carriers Embrace Smartphone "Kill Switch"
April 16, 2014, 10:08 AM
Most Popular Articles
Cities to Carpoolers: Sharing Your Car is Illegal, We Will Seize Your Cars
April 4, 2014, 9:17 PM
A-10 Warthog May Live to Fight Another Day with Support from Lawmakers
April 14, 2014, 9:41 AM
EFF: NSA May Have Used IRC Botnets to Exploit Heartbleed for Last Two Years
April 14, 2014, 4:43 PM
Quick Note: Toyota Attempts to Erase “Boring” Image with ’15 Camry SE Hybrid
April 16, 2014, 11:36 AM
A Bug's Life: Female Cave Bugs Have Penises, Penetrate Males for Three Days
April 17, 2014, 7:20 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information