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It appears third-placed U.S. carrier Sprint will be the last one out the door responsible for turning the lights off when it comes to quarterly earnings reports for the end of 2012, and they're reporting a loss on top of it.
Sprint Nextel has announced its fourth quarter 2012 results, and just for good measure -- and likely to help hide the not-so-good news for the last three months of the year -- has tossed in results for the entire year as well.
First the good news: The company had its best quarter ever for iPhone sales, with "approximately" 2.2 million sold. 38 percent of those were new to the carrier, who combined moved more than 6.6 million of Apple's iconic handset last year.
Sprint is also rocking smartphones in general, which made up 89 percent of its quarterly postpaid handset sales. CEO Dan Hesse specifically cited the Samsung Galaxy S III as the company's "top seller" for the quarter.
The carrier is also tooting its horn about its burgeoning 4G LTE service, which has thus far been launched in 58 cities, with nearly 170 more expected in the months ahead.
Ultimately, there's no getting around the bad news: Sprint nearly doubled its Q3 2012 net loss of $767 million with a Q4 loss of $1.32 billion, the bulk of which is attributed to shuttering the older Nextel network while at the same time building out its new Network Vision.
With an annual operating loss of $1.8 billion for 2012, Sprint still has a way to go before they can shake the slump they're in, but one thing's for sure: It's better to have the iPhone than it is to not have it.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter