Sprint posts $1.6 billion Q4 loss, wireless customers fleeing

Carrier lost $2.8 billion during 2008.

Sprint reported net losses of $1.6 billion for Q4. For the year, Sprint lost $2.8 billion, down from the $29.8 billion it lost in 2007 that was due largely to writing off the Nextel purchase of 2005.

Sprint was in trouble before the recession struck, so it’s not surprising that the company isn’t getting a boost from the current economic climate.

In its quarterly earnings report released Thursday, Sprint reported net losses of $1.6 billion for Q4, a sharp decline from the $29.3 billion in losses that it reported in Q4 2007. For the year, Sprint lost $2.8 billion, down from the $29.8 billion it lost in 2007.

The major reason for Sprint’s massive loss in 2007 was a $29 billion write-off of the 2005 Nextel buyout.

In addition to its large net losses for the quarter, Sprint reported losing another 1.2 million wireless subscribers in Q4, nearly matching the 1.3 million wireless customers it lost in Q3. For the year, Sprint lost a total of 4.6 million wireless customers, bringing the company’s total number of wireless subscribers to 49.3 million. The company’s postpaid wireless segment accounted for most of the damage, as Sprint lost 4 million postpaid subscribers in 2008. Sprint’s postpaid subscribers account for roughly three-fourths of its total wireless subscriber base.

Slideshow: Most notable IT layoffs of 2008

Slideshow: Most notable IT layoffs of 2009

Sprint announced in January that it planned to lay off 8,000 of its workers by this March, a move that the company said would save it $1.2 billion annually. The company is also trying to stabilize its finances through suspending its 401(k) match program for 2009, freezing salaries throughout the year and suspending its tuition reimbursement program.

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