Sprint Sells 1.5 Million iPhones in Q1, 44% to New Customers

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Sprint iPhones

Struggling national carrier Sprint saw the smartphone side of its business bolstered in the past quarter by strong iPhone sales, the company announced Wednesday. The carrier, which began offering iPhones last October, said that it sold 1.5 million iPhones during the first three months of 2012, with 44 percent of those sales going to new Sprint customers. 

While the total number of Sprint’s iPhone sales were down from the previous quarter — the company sold 1.8 million iPhones in its debut quarter on the carrier — the percentage of sales going to new subscribers, which is the most desirable number for cell carriers, rose 4 percent. 

Sprint, the smallest national carrier to offer the iPhone, was bested by rivals AT&T, with 4.3 million iPhone activations, and Verizon, with 3.2 million. However, Sprint’s business saw an overall growth of 263,000 subscribers beating the much larger Verizon, which added about 240,000 subscribers on the quarter, and AT&T, which netted only 7,000 subscribers.

“Sprint posted easily the most impressive [quarter] in U.S. telecom,” said Kevin Smithen, an analyst at Macquarie Securities.

The news is good for the company that paid a premium price for the opportunity to offer the iPhone.

Sprint shares were up in the early afternoon trading session, trading at $2.50 per share, up $0.03 (+1.21 percent), on strong volume.

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The news is only good for Apple.  Your positive Sprint spin is way off.  If you analyze the numbers that really matter…that is contract customers Sprint reverted to a net loss of 192,000 contract customers compared to its 4th quarter.

The gain in customers is not from iPhone sales which costs the Sprint over $350 per iPhone.  The gain is from pay as you go/wholesale (Ie. Boost, etc.).  Wireless firms make more money from contract customers than prepaid/wireless.

The fact that Sprint sold 1.5 million iPhones is great for Apple but is bleeding Sprint dry of cash it desperately needs.

And no one seems to point out that since Sprint charges the same for plans regardless of smartphone, the extra money Sprint pays Apple per iPhone translates into deeper losses for Sprint (863 million loss for this quarter compared to 439 million last quarter).  Those iPhones are responsible for at least $525,000,000 of this quarter’s loss.

Clearly a no win situation for Sprint.  The iPhone deal is only hastening the potential demise of Sprint bot helping.

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