Telecom & Wireless

Sprint Surges While Subscribers Leave

Sprint USB device
Source: courtesy of Sprint Corp.
So let’s get this straight: Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) posts a net loss of $151 million, or $0.04 a share, and the shares rise more than 10% because the company did not lose as much as analysts expected? And what about those fleeing subscribers? Pay no attention to them, they’re just acting snippy because Sprint fouled up their service while making it better.

Sometimes there seems to be no limit to the nonsense that analysts and investors will accept as an explanation for why something that looks like a duck and quacks like a duck is really an eagle.

Sprint lost a net 231,000 postpaid (contract) customers in the first quarter due to “expected elevated churn levels related to service disruption associated with the company’s ongoing network overhaul.” The company also lost a net 364,000 prepaid customers as a result of program changes. Overall Sprint finished the quarter with 54.89 million subscribers, compared with 55.35 million in the first quarter of 2013.

One analyst pointed out to Reuters that if the number of tablet additions is excluded, Sprint’s sales of handsets is at its lowest level in five years. As Felix Wai from New Street Research noted, “Handsets have a higher lifetime value than tablets, so if they [Sprint] continue to lose handset subscriptions, it will have a higher value impact in the long term.”

Still, let’s party like its 1999 and drive that share price up because, well, because it could have been worse. And a possible merger with T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) is still on the table. It is definitely party time.

Sprint’s stock was up about 11.5% just before the noon hour, at $8.27 in a 52-week range of $5.61 to $11.47.

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