Sprint announced its quarterly earnings on Wednesday and the results were disappointing as expected. The carrier posted a net loss of US$863M and cash reserves are now at a razor thin $7.6 billion. In the midst of this doom and gloom, one bright spot for Sprint was the iPhone.
The carrier said in its earnings report that it sold 1.5 million iPhones in the opening quarter. It's a slight drop from the 1.8 million it sold in Q4 2011, but this dip is expected after a holiday quarter. Sprint still trails Verizon Wireless which sold 3.2 million iPhones and AT&T which sold 4.3 million.
Of those buying an iPhone with Sprint, 44 percent were new customers. Sprint said in its earning conference call that 40% of those new Sprint iPhone users reportedly broke a contract to switch to the carrier. About 60% would not have switched if Sprint didn't have the iPhone.
The iPhone is not only increasing sales, it's helping Sprint keep customers, too. The carrier said that iPhone churn rate is low, with significantly less iPhone users asking for support or returning their phone when compared to other smartphone users.
Sprint didn't come out and say it, but it's becoming increasingly obvious that the cornerstone of Sprint's smartphone business is the iPhone.