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Inside Sprint’s Customer Base

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Dec. 4 2020, Updated 10:52 a.m. ET

Sprint focuses on improving network to retain customers

The performance of a mobile carrier’s network determines its customer base, and Sprint (S) has been continuously focusing on upgrading its network to keep its customers.

In fact, the fourth-largest wireless network provider in the US is adding a significant number of postpaid and prepaid customers of late and has been deploying thousands of small-cell solutions, including the Sprint Magic Box, to improve its network performance.

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Sprint adds customers in fiscal 3Q17

During fiscal 3Q17, the telecom company posted strong postpaid phone customer net addition as its network is becoming more competitive with its larger competitors. In fiscal 3Q17, Sprint added a total of 385,000 wireless customers, including 256,000 postpaid customers, 63,000 prepaid customers, and 66,000 wholesale and affiliate net customer additions.

As of December 31, 2017, Sprint had 54.6 million wireless connections, which was 2.4% higher YoY (year-over-year). This includes approximately 31.9 million postpaid customers, around 9 million prepaid customers, and about 13.6 million wholesale customers.

Of its 256,000 postpaid customers, Sprint added net 184,000 postpaid phone customers in fiscal 3Q17, marking the tenth-straight quarter of net additions.

Notably, in fiscal 3Q17, Sprint had the highest retail phone net additions in more than two years. However, the company lagged behind the Wall Street expectation of 220,000 postpaid phone net subscriber additions, given the rising competition in the traditional US wireless market.

Competition hurts postpaid phone subscribers

Remember, postpaid customers are considered more profitable for mobile operators. AT&T (T) and Verizon Communications (VZ) have been facing stiff competition in postpaid phone subscriber additions due to various attractive data plans from rivals T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint for the past few quarters. Charter Communications (CHTR) is also making plans to launch a wireless service in the first half of 2018.

In the next part of this series, we’ll take a look at Sprint’s costs in fiscal 3Q17.

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