REUTERS: Sprint Corp on Thursday reported fewer-than-expected losses for phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill on a net basis and beat quarterly revenue estimates, as the U.S. wireless carrier has focused on improving profitability.
Sprint, which has over 54 million total customers, is hoping for regulatory approval to merge with larger rival T-Mobile US Inc. It has historically struggled to retain customers due to negative perception of its network quality, and pursued a plan to pull back on expensive price promotions to stabilize the business.
The company said it lost a net 26,000 phone subscribers during the third-quarter ended Dec. 31, fewer than the 32,000 subscriber losses analysts had expected, according to research firm FactSet.
Sprint is well-known for prices that are lower than those of its larger competitors. Its Unlimited Plus plan starts from US$70, less than Verizon and other wireless carriers, according to the website. (https://sprint.co/2sv0BNb)
Total net operating revenue rose 4.4 percent to US$8.60 billion. Analysts had expected the company to report revenue of US$8.43 billion.
Sprint reported net loss of US$141 million, or 3 cents per share, in the quarter, compared with a net income of US$7.16 billion, or US$1.76 per share, a year earlier, when the company benefited from a change in U. S. tax laws.
Analysts were expecting the company to report a loss of 2 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
In July, Sprint revamped its unlimited wireless plans to include more perks at higher prices, in order to make more money off of customers on the plans.
But the company warned churn, or the rate of customer defections, could rise in the near-term due to the higher prices. Churn for the third quarter increased to 1.84 percent, up from 1.71 percent last year.
Sprints shares rose 1.3 percent at US$6.12 before the bell.
(Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Sheila Dang in New York; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Chizu Nomiyama)