Sprint has just announced its second quarter 2013 financial results, and while it's pay as you go plans are paying off in terms of income, shutdowns and charges caused a huge loss. The company posted $7.2 billion in earnings, its "highest ever" total and an eight percent increase over last year, but also took a net loss of $1.6 billion for the quarter. It's chalking that up to a huge depreciation charge of $430 million and another non-cash hit of $623 million due to the Nextel platform shutdown, which is finally complete. However, the company added that over 4 million Nextel subscribers were "recaptured" to the Sprint platform since the transition commenced in early 2011. The shutdown and loss were anticipated, though and apart from that, Sprint said it's in good place, having achieved "record levels of... postpaid subscribers, service revenue and postpaid ARPU." It also completed its acquisition of Clearwire (at last) and US Cellular's spectrum and customers, while itself being captured into Japanese carrier Softbank's orbit. (For its part, Softbank managed a whopping 238 billion yen ($2.4 billion) in net income during the quarter.)
The operator now has 4G-LTE coverage in 151 markets, including 41 that are new as of today, including Philadelphia, the Bronx , Brooklyn, Jacksonville, Nashville and Oakland. As for subscribers, post post-paid customers are up from last year, but pre-paid clients are down due to "planned deactivations related to regulatory changes." All of that resulted in an increase in churn (turnover) year-over-year to 1.83 percent. Eighty-six percent of its postpaid handset sales were smartphones, including about 1.4 million iPhones sold during the quarter. Going forward, the company just launched a raft of new data plans, including an Unlimited offering that guarantees customers who sign up will get to keep it for life. We'll have to wait and see whether that and all the other machinations this quarter will finally push the company into the black.