Sprint posted its fourth quarter earnings this morning, and they definitely painted a mixed picture of the company's financial position. On the one hand, the Alamo of unlimited data increased its subscriber base by 1.6 million in the last quarter, with big thanks likely owed to the addition of the iPhone to Sprint's lineup - giving them a significant advantage over their primary price point rival, T-Mobile.
Unfortunately, also because of the iPhone, the company managed a $1.3 billion net loss for the quarter, owed in large part to the massive cost of providing the device ($15.5 billion over 4 years) to customers at heavily subsidized price points. By contrast, in Q3, Sprint reported net losses of around only $300 million.
Still, Sprint's operating revenue rose around 5% year-over-year, and with the cost of supplying iPhones less likely to impact this quarter's results and the Sprint Galaxy Nexus (and an LTE network to go with it) on the way, who knows, they might even post a profit. Given the increasing unattractiveness of T-Mobile (no Galaxy Nexus, no iPhone, no LTE, metered data), Sprint is becoming the obvious choice for cheaper national coverage and data value for your dollar.
But with the relatively large flop that was WiMAX, Sprint's going to need to prove it's serious about LTE in the coming year in order to keep those customers. So, let's hope they do it right.