Sprint on Friday published its consolidated financial report for the third quarter of its fiscal year 2017, i.e. the fourth quarter of the last calendar year, showing a number of improvements but also a decline in one of its key metrics – wireless customer growth. The Overland Park, Kansas-based mobile service provider recorded 385,000 wireless net additions in total over the three-month period ending December 31, down more than 30 percent compared to 2016, with its only major win in this segment being the prepaid unit that had 63,000 net adds, whereas it lost 460,000 of them in the third quarter of its fiscal year 2016.
The wireless carrier's revenue experienced a slight decline, having amounted to $8.24 billion in total compared to $8.55 billion posted 12 months back, with its net operating income surging to $7.16 billion a year after the firm posted a $479 million quarterly loss. The profit boost itself was of the one-time variety, having been almost entirely driven by the corporate tax reform recently enacted by the United States Congress. Not accounting for the effects of the new legislation, the company still ended the quarter approximately $60 million in the black which may not be a significant sum compared to its rivals but still signals Sprint is continuing with its turnaround started by the current Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Claure. Given the extremely negative forecasts given by some analysts, Sprint's lukewarm results were still enough to see its stock rise in pre-market trading, having opened the day at the New York Stock Exchange at $5.45 after closing at $5.11 on Thursday. The telecom giant is also changing its profit forecast for the full fiscal year that now amounts to $2.7 billion for the 12-month period ending this March, $200 million more than the company predicted late last year.
Mr. Claure was quick to point out the company's fourth consecutive quarter of net additions during Sprint's earnings call, having admitted the carrier still has work to do in regards to its churn rate that's significantly higher compared to those of its rivals. While the firm is looking to lower the number of wireless defectors in certain regions going forward, the CEO signaled the management is prepared to continue operating with above-average customer churn if needed. The company also vowed to start offering a 5G service and smartphones capable of utilizing it in the first half of 2019.