Targeted firm Sprint Nextel beats forecast

City A.M. Reporter
SPRINT Nextel, an acquisition target of Japanese groups SoftBank and Dish Network, yesterday posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss, but its customer growth suffered as its Nextel network winds down.

While Sprint, the third-biggest US mobile service provider, recorded higher-than-expected revenue, it said the Nextel network shutdown was also stunting growth in its remaining network because large business customers were leaving.

The company’s top priority was to convince Nextel customers to move to the Sprint network ahead of the final shutdown at the end of this quarter. Some Nextel business clients also canceled subscriptions to Sprint’s remaining network, chief executive Dan Hesse told analysts on a conference call.

Sprint’s first-quarter loss narrowed to $643m, from $863m a year earlier. Revenue rose to $8.79bn from $8.73bn. Analysts had expected $8.71bn.

The firm’s board is evaluating a $25.5bn acquisition offer from Dish, which has challenged the company’s October agreement to sell 70 per cent of itself to SoftBank for $20.1bn.