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Sprint Nextel loses 1M subscribers; deficit widens

May 13, 2008

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— Sprint Nextel Corp.'s Dan Hesse had little good news to share Monday on the eve of addressing his first shareholder meeting as chief executive of the troubled wireless carrier.

Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint reported a larger first-quarter loss brought on by falling revenue, charges for severance and other costs and the exodus of more than a million monthly subscribers.

The company also announced it was exploring the possible sale of noncore assets, though officials didn't give any specifics.

Sprint shares fell 14 cents to $9.24 in trading Monday.

Hesse, who will speak today at the company's annual meeting in Reston, Va., continued to ask for patience as the company tries to surmount a raft of structural, technical and perceptional problems that have allowed Sprint to fall far behind rivals AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless.

"The turnover will take many quarters; however, we are acting quickly and decisively to improve our performance," he told analysts during a conference call.

The company said it lost $505 million, or 18 cents per share, in the three months ended March 31 compared with a loss of $211 million, or 7 cents per share, during the first quarter of last year.

Lawsuit targets Clearwire deal

An affiliate of Sprint Nextel Corp., iPCS Inc., said Monday it was seeking to block Sprint from forming a wireless broadband company with Clearwire Corp.

IPCS, with 640,600 subscribers in seven states, said three of its subsidiaries had filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, alleging the service would compete with iPCS within its markets and therefore would violate violate an exclusivity agreement Sprint signed in 1999.

Sprint and Clearwire Corp. announced last week they plan to combine their wireless broadband units to create a $14.55 billion communications company, to be called Clearwire, that would continue developing a mobile network based on WiMax technology.

- The Associated Press

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