Sprint customers are returning in droves. Really

The company adds 347,000 net new customers who pay at the end of the month, five times more than a year ago.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng

Sprint has some good news to share.

Jamie Squire, Getty Images

Maybe hiring Verizon's "Can you hear me now?" guy is paying off for Sprint.

The company released preliminary financial results on Tuesday that showed continued growth in the key metric of post-paid subscribers, or higher credit customers who pay at the end of the month and tend to stick around longer. It added 347,000 net new customers in its fiscal second quarter that ended September 30. That's twice the number from its first quarter and more than five times its growth from a year ago.

The results are proof of Sprint's ability to right its ship after years of customer defections. The company's growth has largely come from its "half-off" promotion, in which it vows to halve the cost of certain phone plans from its competitors. There's been an intensifying battle between carriers over customers, and Sprint is showing it has some life left.

Not everything was ideal. The company lost 427,000 prepaid customers in the period, likely due to increased competition from T-Mobile's MetroPCS and AT&T's Cricket Wireless lines. For years, Sprint's prepaid business -- powered by its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile lines -- offset much of its postpaid losses.

Further helping Sprint was the addition of 823,000 customers from wholesale partners, which pay the company to use its network.

Sprint narrowed its loss to $142 million from a year-ago loss of $585 million. Its current results benefited from a gain of $218 million due to a spectrum deal.

Sprint will release its full results on October 25.