“With net subscriber additions of 1.1 million, best ever postpaid churn and growing net operating revenues, Sprint maintained the momentum we had exiting 2010,” Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO, said Thursday as the company released its 1st Quarter financial results.
The job isn’t done, but there are many signs of continued improvement.
Check out some of the initial observations that emerged:
Let’s review a few of the specific signs of progress:
• Best total company wireless net subscriber additions in five years. Sprint added 1.1 million total net new wireless subscribers during the first three months of 2011.
• Best-ever prepaid net subscriber additions. The additions included best- ever prepaid net subscriber additions of 846,000 and net postpaid subscriber additions of 310,000 for the Sprint brand.
• Customer loyalty remains strong. The postpaid churn rate dropped to a best-ever 1.81 percent. For prepaid, churn was 4.36 percent, the lowest prepaid churn in more than five years.
• Revenues up. First quarter consolidated net operating revenues of approximately $8.3 billion marked a 3 percent increase from the same quarter a year ago.
Those numbers are important.
But here is another that is equally, if not more, important to us. What do our customers think?
• Thirteenth consecutive quarter of improvement in Customer Care Satisfaction and First Call Resolution
Third parties continue to praise Sprint’s achievements in customer service, wholesale and environmental sustainability.
• Sprint was named as a J.D. Power 2011 Customer Service Champion. Sprint was one of only 40 companies to earn this distinction as a company that delivers service excellence to U.S. customers – both within their respective industries and across all industries measured.
• Additionally, in April, Boost Mobile, one of Sprint’s prepaid brands, received the highest rating in the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Wireless Non-Contract Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study.
• Also this month, industry-leading research firm ATLANTIC-ACM awarded Sprint Global Wholesale Excellence awards for No. 1 in Brand and Voice Value, and U.S. Wholesale Excellence Awards for No. 1 in Brand, Provisioning, Network and Customer Service.
• Sprint again was the only U.S. wireless carrier to be named among the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) national top 50 Green Power Partners list. Sprint’s wind-power purchase helped the company secure its No. 19 ranking on the EPA’s Fortune 500® green power partner list.
Sprint welcomed nearly 1.1 million total wireless subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2010, including net postpaid subscriber additions of 58,000. This marked the best total company wireless subscriber additions and net postpaid additions in nearly five years.
These gains are notable not just for Sprint, but for the wireless industry.
“It had been almost five years since we added over a million customers in a quarter, and the annual improvement in postpaid subscriber results of
2.7 million vs. the previous year is unprecedented in the history of the U.S. wireless industry,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO.
Sprint reported these subscriber gains Thursday with its fourth quarter 2010 financial results. More information can be found:
In an early-morning conference call Thursday Hesse told Wall Street analysts that Sprint is marking significant progress in three key areas on which the company has focused for the past few years.
Sprint’s customer experience and brand continued to strengthen during the year, and the company generated excellent cash flow, Hesse said.
“I am not declaring mission accomplished yet, we are not even close to accomplishing what I think Sprint is capable of, but our progress has been significant,” Hesse told the analysts. “And I believe we are on the right track.”
Customers and many others are noticing the Sprint improvements.
Vocal Laboratories Inc. (Vocalabs), recently reported that in 2010 Sprint moved to first place among its peers in call satisfaction and first call resolution. Frost & Sullivan also praised Sprint with awards for Value Enhancement in Mobile Advertising and Green Excellence in Mobile & Wireless.
What others are saying:
Here are examples of some of the initial coverage of Sprint’s fourth-quarter report:
From satisfied customers to strong demand for smartphones such as Samsung Epic 4G™ and HTC EVO™ 4G, Sprint is showing more signs of improvement.
“Driven by record customer satisfaction, and the performance of iconic devices like the EVO and Epic, Sprint’s momentum continued this quarter,” Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO, said today.
Sprint reported results today for the third quarter of 2010.
Headlines such as “Sprint's turnaround takes hold” help tell the story. Check out some of the links below to see what others are saying.
Here are a few additional highlights:
During the quarter, Sprint:
• Achieved its best total company wireless subscriber net additions since 2006, adding 644,000 total wireless subscribers
• Achieved eleventh consecutive quarter of improvement in Customer Care Satisfaction and First Call Resolution
• Saw more customers switching to Sprint from our competitors than switching from Sprint to our competitors
• Grew quarterly total net operating revenues to nearly $8.2 billion
• Posted a net loss of $911 million and a diluted loss per share of 30 cents.
While pleased by this progress, Sprint leaders and employees recognize that the work is not done. The company is committed to continuing to do that work so customers can continue enjoying an improved experience and Sprint can continue moving forward.
•Bob Azzi, senior vice president, network at Sprint
“While others talk about their network being top-notch, we’re working to put time, money and effort into keeping our customers satisfied and worry-free when making calls, sending emails or texts or surfing the Web.”
A new J.D. Power and Associates’ call quality study provides another proof point of the ongoing improvements customers can expect from Sprint.
Sprint leapt to a three-way tie for first place in the Southeast region in the new study.
The results, released today, show Sprint with the largest leap of all major carriers, from fourth to first place within only six months after the previous J.D. Power survey on call quality, marking yet another proof point that customers recognize Sprint’s network is second to none. The Southeast region win follows on the heels of PC World magazine proclaiming that “no one has a more reliable network than Sprint.”*
In recent years, Sprint now has won in three regions (Southwest in 2008v2, West in 2009v1 and Southeast 2010v2).
Sprint also demonstrated substantial improvement in other parts of the country.
In the Mid-Atlantic, Sprint catapulted to second place (previously in last place) and in the Northeast (previously in third place) and in the West (previously in third place) regions. In the Southwest region, which includes Kansas, Sprint remained in a solid second place position behind only T-Mobile.
The semi-annual J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 Wireless Call Quality Performance Study™measures wireless call quality, based on seven problem areas that impact overall carrier performance: dropped calls; static/interference; failed call connection on the first try; voice distortion; echoes; no immediate voicemail notification; and no immediate text message notification. Call quality performance is examined in six regions: Northeast; Mid-Atlantic; Southeast; North Central; Southwest; and West.
*Based on a 13-city 3G performance test. PC World’s test included Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in 13 major cities in all regions of the country during December 2009 and January 2010. In all, roughly 9,000 individual tests of Sprint’s 3G service were conducted from 280 testing locations in 13 cities. Testing sessions were one minute in duration per location, and network performance can be highly variable from neighborhood to neighborhood. In laptop-based tests, Sprint tied with another carrier for first in 3G network reliability.
We are proud of our progress. And confident that customers will receive the high-quality services and assistance they require.
So confident, in fact, that earlier this year we launched the Sprint Free Guarantee. Sprint will back up its promise to be the best value in wireless with a full money-back satisfaction guarantee on the device, activation fee, service plans, and all associated taxes and fees.
“Sprint Nextel Corp.'s (S) efforts to improve its customers' experience may be paying off, as the carrier pulled into second place in J.D. Power and Associates semi-annual study of the wireless retail sales satisfaction experience. Verizon Wireless (VZ), which traditionally performs well in J.D. Power surveys, dropped to last place among nationwide operators.”
“Sprint made impressive gains in customer satisfaction with customer service in Q2 2010, while Verizon’s lead eroded, according to the latest study on phone-based customer service quality conducted by Vocal Laboratories Inc.”
So let’s take a look at the numbers…Sprint gained 111,000 subscribers in the April to June period and we expect to keep adding wireless subscribers for the rest of the year. Churn? 1.85 percent -- the best ever postpaid churn performance for Sprint.
Whether it’s improving the customer experience, improving the brand through a strong device portfolio and the simplicity & value we offer our customers, or the continued rollout of 4G in markets across the country, it’s nice to see steady progress and hard work paying off.
And we are excited about what's ahead. Look for additional 4G markets as the year continues – including New York City, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Also keep an eye out for the launch of the newest 4G device, Samsung EPIC 4G, and other devices like the Motorola i1 – the first Nextel Direct Connect smartphone with Android.
Strong Brand; Subscriber Growth
• According to third-party brand data, Sprint was the only carrier to see a statistically significant improvement in its “Purchase Consideration” and “Most Want to Investigate” metrics sequentially in the second quarter.
• Because the Sprint brand is strengthening, the number of Sprint-branded postpaid subscribers grew by 285,000 in the quarter.
• Year-over-year postpaid net add improvement is an all-time best 763,000. The sequential improvement in net adds is our best since 2002.
• Sprint-branded postpaid gross add year-over-year growth of 46 percent is the highest since 2001.
• Our market share of new postpaid customers was up for the fourth consecutive quarter and up 560 basis points year-over-year, the largest year-over-year improvement on record.
• In the 2nd quarter Sprint achieved its tenth consecutive quarter of improvement in Customer Care Satisfaction and in First Call Resolution.
• 2010 American Customer Satisfaction Index reported that over the past two years, Sprint not only has improved by far the most of any wireless carrier, but Sprint’s customer satisfaction has improved more in the past two years than any U.S. company in the survey, in any industry, period.
Sprint received the Gartner and 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Award as one of five gold medal winners as an organization that uses customer-focused strategies to improve their business performance.
• The J.D. Power & Associates Wireless Business Satisfaction Survey recognized Sprint as the only carrier to see its scores improve in the small/mid size business category in each of the 2008, 2009, and 2010 surveys.
• Sprint launched Common Cents into 700 Walmart stores, re-launched Virgin Mobile with innovative Beyond Talk and payLo offers, and expanded Assurance Wireless into additional states.
• Sprint added 173,000 prepaid subscribers.
Strong Cash Flow
• Sprint reported $709 million of free cash flow this quarter, which puts the company at $1.2 billion in free cash flow for the first half of the year.
Dan Hesse, Sprint Nextel CEO
• “Our intense focus for the past ten quarters on improving the customer experience, strengthening our brands, and generating cash are paying off.
• “With strong cash flow, stable OIBDA and widespread third-party recognition for the improvements we’re making in the customer experience, which in turn strengthens our brands, we feel we can confidently improve our subscriber forecasts for the second half of 2010 and deliver positive total net wireless subscriber additions for the remainder of the year.”
• “I also want to underscore the importance of the prepaid business. We re-launched the Virgin Mobile brand, introduced Common CentsSM Mobile in about 700 Walmart stores this quarter, and we are encouraged by the customer response to Assurance WirelessSM, our government-subsidized program for qualified customers who need reliable wireless service.”
HTC EVO 4G/4G Service
• The world's first 3G/4G Android™ phone, HTC EVO™ 4G, became available in June. Sprint's second 4G-capable handset, the Samsung Epic™ 4G, was recently announced as the only Galaxy S™ phone to offer 4G as well as a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Sprint extended its green leadership in the wireless industry by introducing eco-friendly devices LG Remarq™ and Samsung Restore™. In addition, Samsung Seek™ debuted as a messaging device with first-of-its-kind reusable packaging. For push-to-talk customers, Sprint launched Motorola i1, a Nextel Direct Connect® Android™ smartphone.
• Sprint launched 4G service in eight new markets during the quarter, including its hometown, Kansas City. Sprint 4G is now available in 43 markets serving approximately 51 million people. As previously announced by Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWR), coverage is expected to reach up to 120 million people by the end of 2010 including deployments in Boston, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.