Shares of Sprint Nextel took a significant dive this afternoon after the company announced a monthly subscriber loss for the fourth quarter. Technically the net subscriber base increased, but the gains were in lower margin MVNO partnerships instead of the more lucrative post paid monthly subscriber vertical. Growth has been a problem since the merger with Nextel. Sprint's major competitors are all adding subscribers at a brisk pace.
During the fourth quarter, Sprint Nextel added 742,000 total net subscribers and ended the period with a base of 53.1 million. The fourth quarter net additions include 876,000 from wholesale and affiliates, and 171,000 new Boost customers, which were offset by a decline of 306,000 post-paid subscribers. Post-paid performance in the quarter reflects solid gains in CDMA subscribers, offset by a decline in the iDEN base.
After hours trading showed shares [S] down over 8%.