became the latest big wireless player to post a strong quarter.
The Overland Park, Kan., telco earned $600 million, or 40 cents a share, up from the year-ago $236 million, or 16 cents a share. Excluding special items, so-called adjusted earnings doubled to 42 cents a share, beating the Thomson First Call analyst consensus estimate by 6 cents. Revenue rose 3.6% from a year ago to $7.1 billion.
The gains were driven by Sprint's wireless side, which added 400,000 direct subscribers. But reseller contributed a surprisingly low number of new subscribers at 87,000 down from 621,000 new users in the prior quarter. The steep drop seems to be due to a clean out of dead accounts. Sprint affiliates added 101,000 net new subscribers in the second quarter.
The company said its wireless unit posted a 12% revenue gain, with average revenue per user hitting $62 and churn, measuring monthly customer defections, falling to 2.2%.
"I'm extremely pleased with our second quarter performance," said CEO Gary Forsee. "We achieved strong operational performance and outstanding financial results. Sprint associates continue to maintain their focus on delivering value to our customers and shareholders while developing detailed plans for our proposed merger with Nextel and planned spin-off of the Local business."
Sprint boosted its full-year adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to around $8.8 billion from the previous $8.6 billion target, while maintaining most other projections. Sprint said it now expects full-year consolidated revenue growth to be in the 3% to 4% range. Wireless is expected to produce low double-digit growth, local is expected to decline at a very low single-digit rate, and long distance is now expected to decline at a high single-digit rate.
Early Wednesday, Sprint was at $24.97.