Sprint's wireless division drags down profits

Sprint ended the fourth quarter of 2003 with a consolidated net income of $38m (£21m), down slightly from the fourth quarter of 2002.

Consolidated net income fell 2.6% for Sprint's wireless division and its telecommunications division in 2003's fourth quarter, ending 31 December 2003, compared with net income of $39m for the same period the previuos year.

Consolidated net operating revenues were up 2.1%, from $6.5bn in the fourth quarter of 2002 to $6.7bn.

Sprint's wireless division, the PCS Group, recorded a net loss of $322m in the fourth quarter of 2003, 26% compared with a $255m net loss in the same quarter of 2002. Net operating revenue increase of 8.4% from a year ago, from $3.1bn in the fourth quarter of 2002, to $3.3bn in the same quarter of 2003.

The PCS Group also recorded a 15% increase in customers in 2003, ending the year with 20.4 million customers. "Although there's clearly room to improve... we are clearly entering 2004 with good momentum," said Robert Dellinger, executive vice-president and chief financial officer at Sprint.

Sprint's FON Group, including its global markets division and local division, reported a net income of $360m for the fourth quarter of 2003, up from $294m in the same quarter of 2002. Net operating revenues were down slightly, from $3.7bn to $3.5bn.

For the full year, Sprint's consolidated net income nearly doubled from $630m in 2002 to $1.2bn in 2003, driven by FON Group earnings. The FON Group posted a net income of $1.9bn in 2003, up from $1.2bn in 2002.

The PCS Group posted a net loss of $661m in 2003, compared with a net loss of $578m in 2002.

Grant Gross writes for IDG News Service

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