Sprint delivers best financial results in company history with highest ever net income and operating income in fiscal year 2017
Via Sprint Newsroom
May 3, 2018
- Fiscal year 2017 postpaid phone net additions of 606,000
- Third consecutive year of postpaid phone net additions
- Highest postpaid phone gross additions in six years
- Fiscal fourth quarter postpaid phone net additions of 55,000 marked the eleventh consecutive quarter of net additions
- Fiscal year 2017 prepaid net additions of 363,000 compared to net losses of 1 million in the prior year
- Prepaid net additions for the first time in three years
- Prepaid churn of 4.58 percent was the lowest in three years
- Fiscal fourth quarter prepaid net additions of 170,000
- Fiscal year 2017 net income of$7.4 billion , operating income of$2.7 billion and Adjusted EBITDA* of$11.1 billion
- Net income for the first time in 11 years, even when excluding$7.1 billion of one-time favorable impact from tax reform
- Highest operating income in company history and highest Adjusted EBITDA* in 11 years
- Fiscal fourth quarter net income of$69 million , operating income of$236 million , and Adjusted EBITDA* of$2.8 billion
- Fiscal year 2017 net cash provided by operating activities of$10.1 billion and adjusted free cash flow* of$945 million
- Second consecutive year of positive adjusted free cash flow
- Completed thousands of tri-band upgrades on macro sites, added thousands of outdoor small cells and deployed more than 200,000 Sprint Magic Boxes
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. , May 2, 2018: Sprint Corporation (NYSE: S): today reported operating results for the fiscal 2017 fourth quarter and full year, including its highest annual retail phone net additions in five years and the best profitability in company history with its highest annual operating income at $2.7 billion and annual net income for the first time in 11 years, even when excluding the one-time favorable impact from tax reform. The company also reported its highest adjusted EBITDA* in 11 years at $11.1 billion and its second consecutive year of positive adjusted free cash flow* at $945 million .
"In the fourth year of our turnaround, Sprint delivered the best financial results in company history as a result of growing our customer base and continuously improving our cost structure, while significantly improving our LTE network and initiating deployment for the first truly mobile 5G network in the U.S," said Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure . "By executing our turnaround, we have positioned Sprint for strategic opportunities which led to our proposed merger with T-Mobile, which will create an entirely new level of innovation and disruption in the industry."
Sprint Adds Nearly 1 Million Retail Phone Customers in Fiscal Year 2017
Sprint’s focus on both its postpaid and prepaid businesses resulted in nearly 1 million retail phone net additions in fiscal year 2017, an improvement of more than 1 million compared to the prior year.
- Postpaid phone net additions of 606,000 marked the third consecutive year of net additions, as postpaid phone gross additions reached their highest level in six years. For the fourth quarter, postpaid phone net additions of 55,000 marked the eleventh consecutive quarter of net additions, including net additions in the business space for the sixth consecutive quarter. The current quarter and full year results included 44,000 net migrations from prepaid to non-Sprint branded postpaid.
- Prepaid net additions of 363,000 compared to net losses of 1 million in the prior year, an improvement of nearly 1.4 million driven by a resurgence in the Boost brand. Prepaid churn of 4.58 percent, the lowest in three years, improved by 80 basis points year-over-year. For the fourth quarter, prepaid net additions were 170,000, including the highest share of gross additions in two years and year-over-year improvement in churn for the seventh consecutive quarter.
Cost Reduction Program Contributes to Improved Cash Flows
Sprint continued to make progress on its multi-year plan to improve its cost structure. Excluding approximately $100 million of hurricane-related and other non-recurring charges in fiscal year 2017, the company reported approximately $1.1 billion of combined year-over-year reductions in cost of services and selling, general and administrative expenses, making it the fourth consecutive year of more than $1 billion of year-over-year reductions and bringing the total reduction over the last four years to approximately $6 billion . The year-over-year reductions were primarily driven by changes to the device insurance program, as well as lower network expenses.
Fiscal year 2017 net cash provided by operating activities of $10.1 billion improved by $13.4 billion year-over-year, primarily due to a modification of our accounts receivable facility in February 2017 . Adjusted free cash flow* of $945 million improved by $338 million year-over-year, mostly due to operational improvements in the business.
Net income of $7.4 billion in fiscal year 2017 included a one-time $7.1 billion non-cash benefit from tax reform, resulting from a re-measurement of our deferred tax assets and liabilities under provisions contained in the new tax law.
Network Quality Improves as Progress Toward First Mobile 5G Network Continues
Sprint is building a super-reliable, high-capacity mobile network that will deliver a great LTE experience and enable industry-leading 5G capabilities. The company’s Next-Gen Network plan involves:
- Upgrading existing towers to leverage all three of the company’s spectrum bands
- Building new macro cell sites
- Adding more small cells including mini-macros, strand mounts with cable operators and Sprint Magic Boxes
- Deploying 5G technologies such as Massive MIMO
With more than 160 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in the top 100 markets, Sprint is one of the only operators in the world with enough capacity to operate LTE and 5G simultaneously using Massive MIMO and huge channels of 100-200 MHz of licensed spectrum on the same radios. Sprint expects to launch the first mobile 5G network in the U.S. in the first half of 2019.
Sprint completed thousands of tri-band upgrades on macro sites, added thousands of outdoor small cells and deployed more than 200,000 Sprint Magic Boxes in fiscal year 2017. These deployments helped drive continued improvement in network quality, as seen in Ookla’s Speedtest Intelligence data.
- Sprint saw a 36 percent year-over-year increase in its national average download speed, the largest increase of the top four national carriers.1
- Sprint is #1 for fastest average download speed in 100 cities, more than twice as many cities as last year and more than AT&T for the third consecutive quarter.2
Fiscal Year 2018 Outlook
- The company expects adjusted EBITDA* of $11.3 billion to $11.8 billion . Including the impact of the new revenue recognition accounting standard, adjusted EBITDA* is expected to increase to a range of $11.6 billion to $12.1 billion .
- The company expects cash capital expenditures excluding leased devices to be $5 billion to $6 billion .
Conference Call and Webcast
- Date/Time: 4:30 p.m. (ET) Wednesday , May 2, 2018
U.S./Canada : 866-360-1063 (ID: 4588039)
International: 443-961-0242 (ID: 4588039)
Webcast available at www.sprint.com/investors
- Additional information about results is available on our Investor Relations website
1 Based on Ookla’s analysis of Speedtest Intelligence data comparing March 2017 to March 2018 for all mobile results. 2 Based on Ookla’s analysis of Speedtest Intelligence data from 1/1/18 to 3/31/18 for all mobile results when comparing cities where the top four national carriers rank
More information on the original press release
(a) During the three-month period ended March 31, 2018, a non-Sprint branded postpaid offering was introduced allowing prepaid customers to purchase a device under our installment billing program. As a result of the extension of credit, approximately 167,000 prepaid subscribers were migrated from the prepaid subscriber base into the postpaid subscriber base. In addition, net subscriber additions under the non-Sprint branded postpaid offering were 44,000 during the three-month period ended March 31, 2018.
(b) Sprint is no longer reporting Lifeline subscribers due to regulatory changes resulting in tighter program restrictions. We have excluded them from our customer base for all periods presented, including our Assurance Wireless prepaid brand and subscribers through our wholesale MVNOs.
(c) As part of the Shentel transaction, 186,000 and 92,000 subscribers were transferred from postpaid and prepaid, respectively, to affiliates, of which 18,000 prepaid subscribers were subsequently excluded from our customer base as a result of the Lifeline regulatory change as noted in (b) above. An additional 270,000 of nTelos’ subscribers are now part of our affiliate relationship with Shentel and are being reported in wholesale and affiliate subscribers beginning with the quarter ended June 30, 2016. In addition, during the three-month period ended June 30, 2017, 17,000 and 4,000 subscribers were transferred from postpaid and prepaid, respectively, to affiliates and, during the three-month period ended March 31, 2018, 29,000 and 11,000 subscribers were transferred from postpaid and prepaid, respectively, to affiliates as a result of the transfer of additional subscribers to Shentel.
(d) During the three-month period ended June 30, 2017, 2,000 Wi-Fi connections were adjusted from the postpaid subscriber base.
(e) During the three-month period ended September 30, 2017, the Prepaid Data Share platform It’s On was decommissioned as the Company continues to focus on higher value contribution offerings resulting in a 49,000 reduction to prepaid end of period subscribers.
(f) During the three-month period ended December 31, 2016, the Company aligned all prepaid brands, excluding Assurance Wireless but including prepaid affiliate subscribers, under one churn and retention program. As a result of this change, end of period prepaid and affiliate subscribers as of December 31, 2016 were reduced by 1,234,000 and 21,000, respectively.
(g) During the three-month period ended December 31, 2017, prepaid end of period subscribers increased by 169,000 in conjunction with the PRWireless HoldCo, LLC joint venture.
(h) ARPU is calculated by dividing service revenue by the sum of the monthly average number of connections in the applicable service category. Changes in average monthly service revenue reflect connections for either the postpaid or prepaid service category who change rate plans, the level of voice and data usage, the amount of service credits which are offered to connections, plus the net effect of average monthly revenue generated by new connections and deactivating connections. Postpaid phone ARPU represents revenues related to our postpaid phone connections.
(i) Postpaid ABPA* is calculated by dividing postpaid service revenue earned from postpaid customers plus billings from installment plans and non-operating leases, as well as equipment rentals, by the sum of the monthly average number of postpaid accounts during the period. Installment plan billings represent the substantial majority of the total billings in the table above for all periods presented.
(j) Postpaid phone ABPU* is calculated by dividing service revenue earned from postpaid phone customers plus billings from installment plans and non-operating leases, as well as equipment rentals, by the sum of the monthly average number of postpaid phone connections during the period. Installment plan billings represent the substantial majority of the total billings in the table above for all periods presented.
Stay up to date with the latest industry developments: sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox – including our daily news briefing and weekly wrap.