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Sprint Nextel Reports Loss of 1.3 Million Customers in Q4 '08

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Sprint Nextel has reported a fourth quarter loss of USD1.62 billion, compared to the extraordinary loss of USD29.3 billion a year ago, caused by the USD29 billion write down of its Nextel purchase. Revenue in the quarter also fell 14.4 percent to $8.4 billion as 1.3 million subscribers decided to leave the company.

Full-year 2008 revenues were $35.6 billion, down on the USD40.2 billion in 2007 - and the net loss for 2008 reached USD2.8 billion.

The company served 49.3 million customers at the end of 2008, compared to 53.8 million at the end of 2007. Subscribers by network platform include 35.5 million on CDMA, 12.4 million on iDEN and 1.4 million Power Source users who utilize both networks.

"In tough economic times, we're generating substantial cash and reducing costs to ensure we remain financially sound. We already have the cash on hand to be able to meet our debt service requirements at least through the end of 2010," said Dan Hesse, Sprint Nextel CEO. "With this financial stability, we can build on the improvements we've made in customer care, strengthen our brand and maintain continued strong network performance in 2009.

Wireless capital expenditures were $304 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $217 million spent in the third quarter of 2008 and $1.4 billion spent in the fourth quarter of 2007. Fourth quarter Wireless capital expenditures increased sequentially, principally due to the timing of projects to increase capacity and introduce EVDO capability in certain smaller markets. The year-over-year decrease in wireless capital spending reflects reduced capacity needs and the conclusion of several network and IT investment initiatives.

Net Debt decreased by approximately $550 million from the end of the third quarter to $17.9 billion at the end of the fourth quarter, consisting of total debt of $21.6 billion, offset by cash and marketable securities of $3.7 billion. The company repaid $1 billion of its revolving credit facility in November 2008.

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