Sprint Nextel Takes $29B Loss as Customers Walk

Loss includes huge one-time writedown; company announces cover-everything plan
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 28, 2008 10:00 AM CST
Various models of phones are displayed on a computer screen as a customer is helped at a Sprint store in Murray, Utah, in this Feb. 28, 2007 file photo. Sprint Nextel Corp. posted massive fourth- quarter...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Sprint Nextel posted a net fourth-quarter loss of $29.45 billion and doesn’t expect a quick recovery, the Wall Street Journal reports. The No. 3 US wireless company will hold off dividend payments and draw down credit lines for protection as more customers leave the service. It has also announced a beefy $100-a-month unlimited plan including voice, web, email, and more.

While both Sprint and Nextel once had market capitalizations of $33 billion, the combined company’s is just $26 billion; it expects to lose 1.2 million customers in the first quarter, the same number who dropped Sprint's service in 2007. The company's fourth-quarter loss includes a $29.7 billion writedown related to Sprint's 2005 acquisition of Nextel. (Read more Sprint Nextel stories.)