Sprint Continues to Bleed Customers, Profit Plummets

Sprint Nextel's third quarter profit plummeted 77 percent as the wireless provider continued to lose customers amid concerns over the carrier's future.

Much of the losses come from the company's Nextel division, which has seen its share of troubles after the merger. Some believe that Sprint has turned its back on the division -- which uses Motorola's iDEN technology -- choosing to focus solely on its CDMA wireless business.

However, even there Sprint has encountered setbacks. The carrier is known for its generally sub-par customer service, and has experienced a number of network outages. It has also for a long time depended on customers with less than stellar credit, a potentially risky situation.


This has likely at least partially led to Sprint's current situation. For the quarter, the company lost another 337,000 post-paid customers, in line with its earlier warnings. Overall, the company's total subscriber base dropped 60,000 to 54 million from the second quarter.

Profits fell from $279 million a year ago to $64 million this quarter. This can be blamed on the average revenue per subscriber -- an important measurement of overall health of wireless carriers -- falling some three percent to $59. Traditionally, Sprint's customers have been some of the quickest to spend extra money on added features.

Sprint says it is working on several measures to improve its business, including a simplification of pricing, expansion of its customer care staff, and widening its distribution network.

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