Sprint Narrows Loss, Sees Stronger 2010

(Sprint earnings report article updated with stock price movement.)

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. ( TheStreet) -- Sprint Nextel ( S) narrowed its losses in the fourth quarter and expects that both post-paid and total subscriber losses will improve in 2010 from 2009 -- still, investors remain unimpressed Wednesday.

Sprint Nextel expects full-year capital expenditures in 2010 to be up to $2 billion. In addition, the company expects to continue to generate positive free cash flow during 2010. Sprint 4G is now available in 27 markets serving more than 30 million people and is expected to cover up to 120 million people by the end of 2010.

Sprint reported a fourth-quarter loss of $980 million, or 34 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $1.6 billion, or 57 cents. Net operating revenue in the quarter was $7.9 billion vs. $8.4 billion the previous year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of 19 cents a share on revenue of $8 billion.

For the fourth quarter, net post-paid subscriber losses improved by almost 300,000 sequentially and by more than 600,000 year-over-year.

Nevertheless, investors seem less than overwhelmed, as they apparently are waiting for the company to return to profitability. Sprint stock has plunged 8.8% to $3.33 in midday trading.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York

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