Sprint Loses $29.5 Billion Dollars In A Single Quarter

Sprint has announced a fourth quarter loss of $29.5 billion, says the Chicago Tribune. Most of the loss is due to a one-time $29.5 billion writedown of its purchase of Nextel. The wireless carrier says it expects 1.2 million additional customers to leave this quarter, citing dropped calls and poor customer service as their reason for seeking less frustrating pastures.

Chief Executive Dan Hesse, who took over in December, said business is worse than he expected and is deteriorating.

“We need an articulated strategy of how he’s going to turn around the business,” said Michael Nelson, an analyst at Stanford Group Co. in New York. “I don’t expect it to be a pretty picture.”

Hesse knows he is facing a tough road.

“We will have a difficult 2008 as we turn this ship around,” Hesse said on a conference call with analysts. “This turnaround will not happen for many quarters.”

Sprint is trying to stop the hemorrhaging by offering an unlimited plan for $99.99 a month.

Sprint records $29.5 billion net loss [Chicago Tribune]


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  1. kalmakazee says:

    I have to admit that I happen to LOVE Sprint!

    If you call up the retention department and threaten to cancel, Sprint will give you whatever you want.

    It is true that Sprint’s customer service sucks!!

    The first time you sign up with Sprint and anytime you renew your contract the first 3 month of doing so expect the hell of your life. Sprint can never get the bill right and you will be sooooo overcharged on your Sprint bill the first 3 months of signing up/renewing your contract. I have been a Sprint customer for close to 4 years and their customer service department sucks BIG time. In my opinion don’t waste time calling for regular customer service. Right away call either the retention department and if that doesn’t work then call the Sprint Consumerist Hotline. You are wasting your time with any other department that Sprint has.

    My trick to knowing if you got a friendly Sprint Customer Service Rep or not is as soon as you get a rep (don’t give the rep your info yet) start off by saying something funny and if the rep laughs usually they will be more than kind to help you out. If the rep doesn’t laugh then just call back and try again.

    If you feel you are overchharged and want a better plan and the rep won’t give you a better plan then have no fear, just keep calling back Sprint again. There is always that rare nice rep at Sprint who will turn you into a satisfied customer. You just have to go through most of the bad apples to find that good apple. Call back Sprint a million times and remember start off by making a joke thats how I am usually able to save time instead of telling a new rep all over again what my Sprint problems are just to waste time by realizing the Sprint rep was an asshole!

    Just dial into the standard Sprint customer service line. When the voice activated system answers the phone, just say the word “cancellation”. That will get you there.

    Sprint’s Consumerist Hotline number is 7034334401

    http://www.sprintusers.com is a GREAT website to go to if you are having problems with Sprint. Other Sprint customers will be GLAD to help you on that website!

    I hope that this info may help out other frustrated customers.

  2. ClankBoomSteam says:

    Just for fun, I worked out that this means Sprint hemorrhaged over $324 MILLION A DAY for the quarter. Bravo, Sprint. Have you considered employing something remotely like decent customer service as a possible way to attract customers to your company? Of course you have. How silly of me.

  3. netbuzz says:

    $29.5 billion! Hey, who do they think they are, an auto maker?

  4. lemur says:

    My wife and I get our service from Sprint. We’ll soon switch to another carrier. Sprint would have to do much much more to get us to change our mind. Their $100/month unlimited plan is just not a good deal for us.

  5. weave says:

    Looks like they need a payday loan from next door (in the pic above)

  6. darkclawsofchaos says:

    @weave: maybe its the opposite, they might have took one too many, at 300% interest

  7. uberbucket says:

    I guess the $300 ETF wasn’t intimidating enough. Plus I’ve seen providers offer to pay your early termination fee when you decide to flee that abusive relationship called Sprint.

    They have awesome phones and appear to be trying to get their shit together, but it’s too, little too late for this here Sprint refugee.

  8. scoobydoo says:

    The article in the trib is slightly misleading; it makes it sound like the company itself lost that money through its day to day operations. But the majority of that loss is from a writeoff of the valuation of Nextel. In essence, the purchase of Nextel was a monumental disaster, and hasn’t earned them a single penny, and most likely never will.

  9. Snarkysnake says:

    Unsaid above (but in the original article) is the news of the TOTAL ELIMINATION OF THE COMPANY DIVIDEND. This means that the owners of Sprint are now feeling your pain. In finance,cutting or eliminating the dividend is a last,last resort. So now the management of this shitsack of a company will either listen to customer complaints and act on them or the owners will can their sorry asses.

    In that vein, I am declaring today , February 29, 2008 ,”VS” (Victory over Sprint) Day in America. We may now allow ourselves a moment of rejoicing. Sprint management – The clock is ticking. Tick,Tock…

    See you at happy hour !

  10. bradanomics says:

    I have no problem with Sprint. My service is excellent and I pay less than $35/mo with SERO.

  11. DragonflyLotus says:

    @uberbucket: Which (decent) providers will pay the ETF? After 8 years, I’m ready to get out.

  12. Scuba Steve says:


    Sero is invite only, and doesn’t work with the iphone. Therefore, it sucks by design.

  13. LadyKathryn says:

    @dragonflylotus: More importantly, what’s a decent cell provider? Is there one? I’m rapidly coming to the opinion that choosing one is like being one of those “World’s Most Dangerous Animals” show hosts – everything looks pretty and fun on camera, but there’s a decent chance that any particular segment will try to kill you.

  14. mobilene says:

    @bradanomics: I’ve had a good run with Sprint, too. But now I’m nervous about their viability.

  15. Megladon says:

    They might want to take advantage of the Cash Advance store in the picture to help them out while the figure out how to fix the problem.

  16. ThinkerTDM says:

    I do have a problem with sprint. I have had a few CSR’s who actually knew what they were doing, but on the whole, it seems like the customer service people go out of their way to screw things up. It’s not rocket science for crying out loud! A trained monkey could do it better.

  17. Erwos says:

    @Scuba Steve: The iPhone sucks by design. It doesn’t even have friggin’ EVDO or HSDPA.

    I’m a satisfied Sprint customer – you are really not going to find cheaper or better data plans anywhere else. Then again, I _NEVER EVER_ call their support. Email or in-person is the only way to go.

  18. Miss.UnderstoodRedhead says:

    So for only $99.99 a month, I get unlimited dropped calls?! Wow! What a deal! Where do I sign up?

  19. AstroPig7 says:

    I’ve rarely had to deal with Sprint customer service, and my call quality has been great, so I’m not keen on moving to another provider just yet. Unfortunately, if Sprint goes down, my contract will probably sold to (and renewed by) another company, which is a worse situation than being saddled with an ETF. AT&T has a bad reputation, I can’t get T-Mobile, and I’m wary of Cingular, so who’s left?

  20. SpenceMan01 says:

    @Scuba Steve: Anyone can sign up for SERO using the address: savings@sprintemi.com. For you, however, I would suggest using ignorantapplefanboy@sprintemi.com. Try it, it works.

  21. KJones says:

    It seems the culture of corruption and fraud at MCI has spread to all of Sprint since the merger. No surprises there.

    @weave: Looks like they need a payday loan from next door (in the pic above)

    One picture, three irreputable businesses. Amazing.

    The only things worse than “rent to own” slimebags are payday loan scum and telemarketers asking (among other things) for you to change phone services.

  22. umbriago says:

    $29.5 billion! Hey, who do they think they are, an airline?

  23. ARP says:

    href=”#c4465408″>ClankBoomSteam: They’re doing worse than the US government in Iraq- They’re only spending roughly $280M per day to: not give troops body armor, inadequately armored vehicles, contaminated water, “lost” money and hospitals with rats and mold. Almost $500B BTW.

  24. JustaConsumer says:

    Sprint sucks. This is karma.

  25. newspapersaredead says:

    Sprint isn’t my favorite company in the world either, but after doing business with Verizon for 3 years, Sprint has proven in my case to be the lesser of the two evils. The Verizon commercials make me laugh, because of the IRONY. I always had dropped calls with Verizon.

  26. jeffjohnvol says:

    Aw, that sucks. That means my 2 sprint Treo’s will drop even more calls so they can eat up my minutes. Yeah, I know I can call *4 and get them back, but when you are trying to call back, who has time.

    Once another mobile company has some coverage at my getaway cabin, I’ll be making a switch.

  27. Pro-Pain says:

    Sprint isn’t so bad. They have bent over backwards for me a few times. It’s all in the attitude you have/take with customer service when you call them. Overall, they are no better/worse than any other cellular provider. They are just “perceived” to be…

  28. septa44 says:

    @Pro-Pain: Same with me…I’ve been a Sprint customer for over eight years, and they’ve been nothing but helpful and courteous. When I recently activated a new phone, the rep helped me evaluate my plan and even recommended against a more expensive option I had been considering.

  29. tiatrack says:

    Since the new CEO took over with “one call to fix a problem” goal, I have had nothing but EXCELLENT customer service with Sprint. One great phone transaction that left me with a WAY better plan for less than half of my old bill, and two great store interactions.

    In a world where all cell phone companies are terrible, Sprint certainly is the lesser of many evils (and between my fiance and I, we’ve dealt with all of the major carriers – Sprint, Tmobile, Verizon, and AT&T/Cingular).

  30. Scuba Steve says:


    So wanting a service that works with the phone network my phone uses and not wanting to abuse the invite code makes me an ignorant Apple Fanboy?

    I’ve been called a lot of things, and most of them by ignorant apple fanboys, but I’ll be sure to make a note of this.

  31. m4ximusprim3 says:

    @jeffjohnvol: I don’t know where you live, but in north county san diego, my sprint phone kicks my AT&T phones ass. Places my AT&T takes a shit, my katana gets 2-3 bars. There is only one stretch of road i’ve ever found that has a consistent dropout, and it’s where the road dips through a little “crater” on top of a hill.

  32. shadow735 says:

    @newspapersaredead: I love Verizon, I very rarely get dropped calls and if I do its because I am talking on the phone going thru mtns as I drive.
    Excellecnt cust service, I will never leave them. I guess it just means that some areas dont have enough cell towers or whatever it is they use to relay your signal.

  33. Slick36 says:

    I’ve had Sprint since 2000 and have rarely experienced difficulties of any sort. I even signed up for their Mobile Broadband which is very reliable and fast.

    Wish I could think of something to bash Sprint with, but can’t!

  34. tiontech says:

    Sprint call quality is second to none. CS is terrible but as long as you don’t deal with them VRZ, ATT and TMO can’t hold a candle to the network and call quality.

  35. SpenceMan01 says:

    @Scuba Steve: You completely wrote off Sprint as “[sucking] by design” simply because the network isn’t compatible with the iPhone. If that doesn’t reek of fanboyism, I don’t know what does. Furthermore, you can direct blame at APPLE for designing the iPhone as a GSM device and not offering a CDMA version. That blame shouldn’t rest with Sprint. Does that mean Verizon “sucks by design” as well?

  36. Zamboni MacN'Cheese says:

    I’ve had both Sprint and Verizon for years. Sprint CS used to give me screaming headaches; they screwed up porting a number so badly for me that I threw yelling fits until I received an email from a delightful woman who is one of the executive-level CSR managers.

    Now, she insists that I email her for anything I need, no matter how minor; she checks in every couple of months to see how I’m doing and if I need anything taken care of. Their coverage where I live is comparable to Verizon’s, and when I call the front-line CSR’s (because I need something so minor I’m embarrassed to ask my lady about it), instead of 40 minute wait times, I speak to someone within 2 minutes, every time. I think their Cust service has gotten a lot better recently.

  37. Benstein says:

    Wow this puts the Xbox fiasco into perspective.

  38. Scuba Steve says:

    @SpenceMan01: Cry me a river and quit putting words in my mouth.

    And don’t ask me if Verizon sucks by design as well, because we all know the answer to that one.

  39. 4ster says:

    So if they go bankrupt, do they have to pay ME an ETF?

  40. coold8 says:

    Sprint is the company everyone loves to hate…….

    I personally like sprint,

    I use there store representatives and they have always been helpful
    Their mobile broadband is like no other
    Just dont call them on the phone

    Note to Dan Hesse, internet is your strong point, most coverage, least limits, best service, good ratings, use that to your advantage and give up on the telephone thing. If your internet service is good enough, all you have to do is offer a VoIP service, and then you can stop investing in your voice network, also that will provide a lot more flexibility and cheaper voice service for both parties! You hve the #1 mobile broadband network in the country, but your emphasis is still on telephone service profits, get WiMax deployed, and get it deployed quick!

  41. rolla says:

    I love sprint too…they have given me a great plan with options and my monthly bill is really cheap. However, one prob that they can solve is the lack of better phones. They keep coming out with bulky, ugly flip phones. They just RECENTLY added a slider phone…can u believe that?? All the other carriers had that over a yr ago. They have to realize that sexy phones grabs customers. Just look at the iPhone…do you really think people actually want to go to AT&T with 2G service??

  42. Sidecutter says:

    @Scuba Steve: No. What makes you an ignorant Apple fanboy is acting like Sprint has any fault or part in your iPhone not working with Sprint. That was a choice made entirely by Apple.

    As for abusing the invite code, that invite code was CREATED FOR PUBLIC USE.

  43. rekoil says:

    @KJones: You do know that MCI and Sprint never merged – Worldcom tried to buy Sprint in the early ’00s but was smacked down by EU (not US) antitrust authorities.

  44. djreservations says:

    Ha, I have never ever had a problem, few dropped call or anything else.
    I have been with Sprint for at least 6 years. Granted if you call customer service I’m not sure who you will get overseas but if you are like me and simply pay the bill each month and have no problems then it doesn’t matter to me if Donald duck is taking calls. People forget that Sprint is one of the longest carriers that hasn’t changed their name a thousand times.
    Folks stick with companies like AT&T but don’t seem to be to concerned with their integrity or ethics with changing their name over and over. But followers lead the world.
    Kudos to the followers. Keep following.

  45. shulkman says:

    I was on sprint for two years, and went through billing hell. Then, I found out about SERO. All I needed was the email address for a sprint employee… hmmm, where to get one of those? I’d love to say it our loud, but I know sprint will be looking over this article with a magnifying glass. Let’s just say, I didn’t have to look too far… hint, hint. Anyways, I’m now on the SERO program, and as long as I don’t go over my 500 minutes, I can’t get a charge of more than 30 bucks a month. Free text, free data, free nights and weekends at 7pm… It’s the only reason I stayed with Sprint… sure as hell wasn’t for the customer service.

  46. Scuba Steve says:

    @Sidecutter: No. What makes you an ignorant Apple fanboy is acting like Sprint has any fault or part in your iPhone not working with Sprint. That was a choice made entirely by Apple.

    Yeah, using an entirely different communication standard than most of the world was a choice entirely made by Apple. Wait, no.

    //I don’t even like Apple, I just own the damn phone, dumbass.

  47. fafi says:

    Sprint is just full of absolute morons. I don’t understand how CSRS can go through 6 weeks of training yet can barely tell you what plan you’re on.
    It took me FIVE hours yesterday to activate my new phone, because Sprint is full of FAIL. I eventually called the consumerist hotline, and the girl did help me & fixed everything w/i 15 minutes. But honestly….5 hours to upgrade my phone????? ARE YOU KIDDING ME SPRINT.

  48. Neurotic1 says:

    @fafi: Yeah and they add insult by talking like you’re bothering them. I left Sprint when around the time they merged with Nextel. They sucked then; I can’t imagine what they’re like now.

  49. lasereric41 says:

    As an associate for a competitor carrier, it’s no surprise at all that they’re hemmorhaging money. Every day I hear at least 10 stories about Sprint’s poor customer service, or shady practices. From allowing customers to use false identity information to activate, to refusing to honor the phone’s 1 year manufacturers warranty, to extending a customer’s contract for paying a bill, I’ve heard it all. Dan Hesse has more than his hands full with trying to turn this company around.

  50. kalmakazee says:


    Sprint is GREAT for one thing & that is getting all those discounts that they give you, lol. ;-)

  51. unklegwar says:

    GOOD! I eagerly await their death, and with it that damned annoying walkie talkie chirp!

  52. Sprintfree says:

    After being merged into Sprint {Centel) and then cut loose(Embarq), I am glad to see their executives get what they deserve. They are a greedy bunch of crooks who would sell their Mother if they thought it would put another nickle in their pocket. I feel sorry for the lower level employees because they will take every benefit they have worked for away. They constantly talk about ethics but have absolutely none. My biggest problem is we still have some of them running us.

  53. Sprinter says:

    If you have a family plan with Sprint, you may have noticed that last month Sprint changed its billing format to include a new “Suggested” split between the expense allocation of your bill if you have more than one phone. I am a business user and have an extra phone for my wife that I pay for seperately. On the bill, it clearly has sections for my phone and another section for my wife’s. I simply deduct the amount of my wife’s phone from the total and submit the statement for reimbursement at work. But alas, Sprint in its infinite brilliance now adds a new section for a suggested split. One problem: the suggested split is over 7 times the amount allocated in my wife’s bill in the invoice detail?????? What does this mean? Well one thing is for certain, next month if I send in this statement and reduce my wife’s phone’s usage based on the statement numbers as I have been for 6 years, the accountant at my office will look at my expense report and say excuse me, you have been lying about the actual cost of your wife’s phone — see what Sprint says/suggests?? You are fired for fraud and owe us $7,823.32 (I am making this part up) for the last 6 years where you understated your wife’s share of the phone expense.

    If you have this same concern, please call the Executive Desk at Sprint at 866-727-0665 today. The more the merrier. Sprint uses the old GM method of handling complaints, they don’t worry about repairing the exploding gas tank issue until at least 1000 people die. So unless 100 consumers call in to Sprint they are not planning on making a correction to address the math error. Either ask for a removal of this suggested number or ask that the numbers mathematically mirror the breakdown shown in the statement. Common sense yes, but not in Sprint’s view apparently.