Sprint Nextel (S) may be seeing customer attrition bottom out, according to rumors that rivals AT&T (T - Get Report) and Verizon (VZ - Get Report) are seeing fewer subscribers swap over from the struggling wireless provider.
Rumors have surfaced that the investor relations departments for both Verizon and AT&T were telling individual shareholders that fewer telephone numbers were being ported over from Sprint's wireless network. That speculation offers an explanation as to why Sprint shares have jumped 15% during the same week that the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 4% to its lowest level in 2008.
AT&T spokesman Michael Coe said the company was offering no comment on the speculation. Verizon spokesman Jim Gerace took a harder stance, saying that "Sprint continues to be our largest source of port-ins."
Gerace did acknowledge that Verizon's investor relations department has received several questions on the subject of ported numbers from Sprint, but he added that the company does not provide raw porting figures.Sprint spokesperson James Fisher said the company would not comment on the rumor, adding that the second quarter is ending next week and that the company would not have any wireless churn data until its next earnings release in August. "The fact that AT&T and Verizon are seeing fewer ports should not be too surprising," says Steve Clement, analyst with Pacific Crest Securities. "We're expecting churn to improve quarter-over-quarter for Sprint. However, there's no way of knowing how significant that is yet, and whether or not it justifies the price move in the stock."