Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Sprint Nextel Misses Estimates, Wireless Subscriptions Reach 51.7 million

Sprint Nextel reported consolidated Q2 revenue of $10.0 billion, an increase of 76 percent on a reported basis and 5 percent compared to pro forma revenues in the 2005 second quarter. For the quarter, diluted earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations were 10 cents, compared to 22 cents per share for the second quarter of 2005. The year-ago results do not include the Nextel operations or the acquired PCS affiliates and results from Local have been classified as discontinued operations in all periods presented.

Some highlights:

  • Long Distance revenues were better than expected, but Wireless revenue gains from a larger subscriber base and demand for data services were offset by an increased number of customers adopting lower priced voice service plans and lower pre-paid pricing.

  • Sprint cited lower post-paid performance. Wireless acquisition and revenue trends are expected to cause full-year net operating revenues and Adjusted OIBDA to be below prior targets.

  • Wireless added 708,000 retail subscribers including 210,000 post-paid and 498,000 prepaid customers under the Boost Mobile brand. With the purchase of Nextel Partners, the total base is 51.7 million, an increase of 17% from the year-ago period. In the past 12 months, organic growth in the total subscriber base was 5.2 million.

  • Total retail gross additions were approximately 3.8 million, compared to 3.5 million a year ago and 4.1 million in the first quarter. Post-paid gross additions were 2.7 million, a decline of 10% sequentially and 8% year-over-year. Sequentially, declining sub-prime credit gross additions offset increased prime credit additions.

  • Post-paid churn in the quarter was 2.1%, matching the first quarter of 2006. Boost churn was 6.0% in the quarter, versus a normalized rate of 5.4% in the first quarter.

  • Direct post-paid ARPU was under $62, a decline of 6% from a year ago and 1% sequentially. The annual decline is due to lower average monthly voice price plans and reduced overage charges offset by strong growth in data. About a third of the annual ARPU decline is attributable to acquisitions of affiliates. Sequentially, lower average monthly voice price plan revenues were partially offset by higher data revenues. Boost ARPU was under $34 in the quarter due to lower pricing and lower average usage, compared to $36 in the first quarter and $38 for the year-ago period.

  • Data service revenues increased nearly 70% compared to the year-ago period and contributed $7.25 to direct post-paid ARPU, compared to $7.00 in the first quarter. The company announced today that it will expand its 3G broadband wireless services to an area covering 200 million people by year end and that it will begin to deploy the next step in 3G technology beginning in the fourth quarter.

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