Sprint Corp. hopes its recent changes will drive a resurgence of its network, but the process will likely be slow. A change in leadership and revamps of its carrier deals have not yet yielded the desired results: more customers and increased profit.
Sprint has attempted to attract new subscribers with discounted plans, but the carrier is still rapidly losing customers. It lost 334,000 wireless subscribers in the most recent quarter and has consistently shed customers in seven of the past eight quarters.
The company is scheduled to report fiscal second-quarter earnings after the close of trading Monday. Wall Street expects the carrier to report a quarterly of loss $246 billion, or 6 cents per share, which compares to losses of $699 billion, or 18 cents per share, in the year-prior quarter. Revenue is expected to rise to $8.6 billion, which compares to revenue of $7.7 billion a year ago.
Depending on what its fiscal second-quarter earnings disclose, the carrier may no longer be the third-largest mobile network in terms of subscribers. As of the second quarter, Sprint had 53 million subscribers. Rival network T-Mobile reported its third-quarter earnings last Tuesday, announcing it now has 52.9 million subscribers, slightly trailing Sprint. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners said it expects Sprint to report pulling in more new customers between July and September.
New Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in September the network is willing to lose some profitability to bolster customer growth. Among its cost-cutting customer plans are its Family Share Plan, which allows up to 10 lines to share 20GB of high-speed data in addition to unlimited talk and text; its $60 unlimited plan, which offers unlimited talk text and data; and its iPhone specific unlimited plan, which costs just $50 for iPhone 6 or 6 Plus owners.
Additionally, Sprint plans to add to its data capacity with the 2.5GHz spectrum it got with its purchase of the wireless broadband service Clearwire last summer. If implemented, Sprint has the potential to increase its 4G speeds to more than five times the current industry standard, which would give it a great service advantage.
Analysts at Credit Suisse expects Sprint will begin to launch its new broadband spectrum by the end of 2014. The expansion will be expensive for Sprint, but the network is expected to make up the cost in other ways. “Until the network improves, the company will focus on providing the 'right value proposition.' This is not necessarily lowest price,” said Credit Suisse analyst Joseph Mastrogiovanni in a research note.
Sprint has scheduled a conference call to discuss its fiscal second-quarter results at 4:30 p.m. EST.