Sprint (S +7.2%) saw a net gain of 682K mobile platform subs in seasonally strong Q4 - 58K postpaid, 322K prepaid, 302K wholesale/affiliate. Though that figure is well below Verizon and T-Mobile's Q4 net adds, and moderately below AT&T's, it represents a turnaround from Q3's 95K net loss (includes a loss 360K postpaid subs).
The #3 U.S. carrier is also guiding for 2014 adjusted EBITDA of $6.5B-$6.7B, up from a 2013 level of $5.4B and a 2012 level of $4.8B. Q4 adjusted EBITDA margin was 14.5%, up from the year-ago period's 10.3%.
Mobile service revenue rose 2% Y/Y to $7.15B, equipment revenue (phone/tablet sales) rose 15% to $1.16B. SG&A spend was nearly flat at $2.44B.
Postpaid ARPU was $64.11, down slightly from $64.24 in Q3 and $64.17 a year ago. Postpaid churn rose to 2.07% from 1.99% in Q3 and 1.98% a year ago.
Sprint's wireline division saw revenue drop 9% to $859M. Its op. income fell to $23M from $71M.
With parent SoftBank (SFTBF) willing to spend aggressively to improve Sprint's 4G coverage, Sprint has set a 2014 capex budget of $8B, up from a 2013 level of $7.5B and a 2012 level of $5.4B.
Leap Wireless (LEAP -7.7%) falls after missing Q4 revenue estimates and reporting a 337K subscriber net loss - that's worse than 269K net loss reported for Q3, and evidence of further share losses. Churn was 4.6%, down from Q3's 4.8% but up from 3.9% a year ago, and cost per gross add rose 17% Q/Q and 53% Y/Y to $363. ARPU rose slightly to $42.74, a 4G roaming deal has been signed with an unnamed carrier, and a dispute with Sprint (S) over a wholesale deal has been settled. Shares have been range-bound since last summer. CC underway (webcast). (PR)