Sprint CEO: We'll give guidance on the iPhone (scoop)

Sprint Chief Executive Dan Hesse tells CNET that investors will get a sense of the financial impact of the iPhone at the next quarterly earnings report.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse speaks to his leadership team at an investor meeting last week. Roger Cheng/CNET

Sprint Nextel plans to shed more light on the financial impact of selling the Apple iPhone during its next quarterly report.

The company had always planned to provide more guidance regarding the iPhone, Chief Executive Dan Hesse told CNET during an event at the CTIA Enterprise & Applications show in San Diego. With the iPhone 4S not even out yet, he didn't believe it would be fair to provide any estimate so soon.

Sprint and Hesse caught a lot of flack on Friday when the company laid out its own 4G plans. Investors at the conference bristled as Hesse and his executive team's refusal to provide a forecast on the Apple guidance, as well as what some felt was the company abandoning long-time partner Clearwire.

Sprint suffered through a round of investor downgrades on Monday and saw its share plunge as analysts cited the questions that remained.

The iPhone questions, at least, will get answered when the company reports its third-quarter results. While it hasn't set a date for the release of its results, the company is expected to report later this month.

While the iPhone has brought more loyal customers to each carrier that offers the phone, it also comes at a cost. The iPhone requires a heftier subsidy than any other smartphone, and the volume of phones that move means carriers pay a significant upfront payment to Apple. Hesse has previously said he would gladly pay the price for a chance to sell the smash-hit phone.

Hesse has said that the iPhone remains the top reason why customers leave Sprint. That changes on Friday when it joins AT&T and Verizon Wireless in carrying Apple's smartphone.

Hesse had nothing to add on Clearwire, which currently provides Sprint's 4G WiMax service. He said the company already has a major wholesale commitment to Clearwire through 2012. He said there was nothing to add because he didn't have anything to announce right now, but left the door open to future announcements.

Sprint plans to continue supporting WiMax devices through next year. Many speculate that the schedule suggests Sprint will drop Clearwire after 2012, but it could also mean that it will work with Clearwire's LTE network. There remains a lot of questions with Clearwire because it requires additional funding to maintain its operations.

 

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