Though you'd have to argue that Sprint is a leaner, smarter company than it was a couple years ago, it's not out of the woods yet. The company's fourth quarter earnings show that it's still losing money to the tune of $980 million -- a $502 million decline from the quarter prior
-- and net wireless subscribers declined by some 148,000, though there's a lot of hand-waving here (iDEN lost 504,000 subs, for example, while the CDMA network actually gained 3,000, and there were a couple big acquisitions thrown into the mix). Churn decreased slightly against both the third quarter and the fourth quarter of '08 -- a good sign, to be sure -- and ARPUs were generally up, though prepaid ARPU specifically took a hit as a result of the Virgin Mobile buy
; who knew that Virgin customers had lower ARPUs than Boost's? To end on a high note, Sprint says it's working with the highest free cash flow in company history and it saw its first net gain in CDMA subs (however small that gain might be) in six quarters, so there's reason to keep the faith -- and maybe this Supersonic
can work some more magic, right?