Sprint, Qwest losing sales to their rivals

From Times Wire Services

Sprint Nextel Corp. and Qwest Communications International Inc. posted lower second-quarter sales amid heightened competition for telephone customers.

Sprint, the third-biggest U.S. wireless carrier, said Wednesday that it recorded a $344-million loss as sales declined 11%.

Qwest, No. 3 in the U.S. local-phone market, said profit fell 24% and sales slipped 2.3%.

The carriers are losing subscribers to Verizon Wireless and AT&T; Inc. and are looking for ways to revive growth. Qwest home-phone users are canceling service and switching to mobile phones, and Sprint clients are defecting to competitors amid dropped calls and complaints.


Sprint shares fell $1.21 to $7.34, while Qwest dropped 14 cents to $3.45.

Sprint reported a loss of 12 cents a share, its third straight quarterly loss, compared with net income of $19 million, or 1 cent a share, a year earlier. Sales declined to $9.06 billion, trailing the $9.14-billion average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

About 776,000 contract subscribers left Sprint last quarter. The company, based in Overland Park, Kan., predicted higher defections in the next three months.

Qwest’s net income fell to $188 million, or 11 cents a share, from $246 million, or 13 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales declined to $3.38 billion, in line with the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey.


Qwest lost 1.08 million phone lines from a year earlier, an 8.2% drop. Internet subscriptions grew 14% to 2.73 million customers, the Denver-based company said.