Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sprint and Clearwire to Extend Partnership into LTE

Sprint will continue to work with Clearwire as the companies roll out their respective LTE networks.

In its quarterly conference call, Sprint executives confirmed a non-binding cooperation agreement with Clearwire to work together on the technical specifications of the Clearwire LTE network. Specifically, the cooperation extends to the design and operations of the network. Sprint wants to ensure seamless handoffs in service layer control that meets its customer experience requirements. The agreement will cover the cell site selection and timing of site builds and involves working with OEMs to design devices and to include certain chipsets in devices. Further discussions are underway.

Sprint will be using FD-LTE while Clearwire has chosen TD-LTE technology. Devices would need to operate using both LTE flavors.

On the financial side, Sprint reported revenues of $8.3 billion and Adjusted OIBDA of $1.4 billion. Adjusted OIBDA grew sequentially and year-over-year driven primarily by strength in postpaid ARPU and continued growth in the prepaid wireless customer base.

Some highlights:

Postpaid wireless ARPU increased $3 from the year-ago period and the prepaid subscriber base has grown 23 percent since the third quarter of 2010.

The company achieved its best total company wireless net subscriber additions in more than five years. The company added nearly 1.3 million total net wireless subscribers, primarily driven by 304,000 net postpaid additions for the Sprint brand, net prepaid additions of 485,000 and net wholesale and affiliate additions of 835,000.

The iPhone has surpassed initial expectations. The iPhone is expected to be accretive for Sprint, and iPhone users
are expected to be among Sprint's most profitable customers.

Sprint expects the customer lifetime value of an iPhone customer to be at least 50% greater than a typical smartphone user. The carrier is counting on lower churn from iPhone users.

Costs related to Network Vision and the iPhone will impact cash by roughly $5.5 billion, partially offset by the benefits generated from Network Vision and the iPhone of $1.1 billion.

As part of Network Vision, Sprint will be decommissioning of over 25,000 iDEN sites.

As of Sept. 30, 2011, the company's total liquidity was approximately $5 billion, consisting of $4 billion in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments and $1 billion of undrawn borrowing capacity available under its revolving bank credit facility. The company's next scheduled debt maturities of $2.3 billion are due in March 2012.

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