State and Nation Business

Sprint 2Q loss expands, revenue flat

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.– Sprint Corp. says that its second-quarter net loss grew while revenue held steady as the wireless carrier released its first earnings report under majority owner SoftBank.

Sprint Corp., the nation's third largest cellphone carrier, said Tuesday that it lost more than 2 million wireless customers in the quarter, primarily due to the shutdown of the Nextel network, which it purchased in a merger in 2005. But it gained about 412,000 subscribers by buying the business of U.S. Cellular in the Midwest in May.

The company had 53.6 million subscribers by June's end, down from 55.2 million at the end of March.

Net losses grew to $1.6 billion, or 53 cents per share. It lost $1.4 billion, or 46 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding unexpected charges related to the Nextel shutdown, the adjusted loss came to 31 cents per share.

Revenue rose to $8.88 billion from $8.84 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a loss of 30 cents per share on revenue of $8.69 billion.

Its shares lost 10 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $5.64 in premarket trading Tuesday.

SoftBank Corp.'s acquisition of 78 percent of Sprint closed July 10, but the Japanese company's courtship of Sprint had financial effects long before that. Softbank lent Sprint money that enabled it to launch a bid to buy out the minority shareholders of Clearwire Corp., a wireless broadband network operator. Sprint already owned a majority of Clearwire, and will now be able to integrate its vast spectrum holdings with its own, for faster broadband speeds and higher capacities in the future.

SoftBank paid $21.6 billion for the Sprint stake. Shareholders got $7.65 per share. The question is now what other moves SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son can make to revitalize Sprint. AT&T and Verizon are both vastly bigger, have much stronger financials and are ahead on building out next-generation data networks. No. 4 T-Mobile US is putting pressure on Sprint from below with innovative pricing plans and, for the first time, the iPhone.

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