Operators perform well, Samsung in record breaking quarter, Facebook stumbles on debut

The industry’s big names are continuing to post their quarterly earnings this week, and American operators Sprint and América Móvil, as well as Middle Eastern operator group Etisalat, enjoyed somewhat encouraging performances. Meanwhile, Samsung recorded its best ever profit for a quarter but Facebook had bad news in its first ever earnings statement.

US carrier Sprint reported a net loss of $1.4bn for 2Q12, which represents a 62 per cent larger loss than the negative $847m it posted in the same quarter last year. However, given that this loss is largely related to the costs incurred in shutting down its iDEN Nextel network, financial analysts instead opted to focus on the firm’s improved ARPU and customer churn.

The company has taken 9,600 Nextel sites off air to date – more than it had previously anticipated at this stage – and the rollout of its Network Vision 4G LTE network remains on track. It has now launched LTE services in 15 US cities and expects 12,000 sites to be on air by the end of 2012.

In addition, the firm said it has seen its best ever postpaid ARPU of $63.38 and its Sprint platform wireless service revenue grew 16 per cent year-on-year. The operator also saw its best ever Sprint platform postpaid churn – 1.69 per cent – and sold nearly 1.5 million iPhones; 40 per cent to new postpaid customers.

“Based on this performance, we are raising the 2012 adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) forecast to between $4.5bn and $4.6bn.” said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO.

During the quarter, Latin American operator group América Móvil suffered from foreign exchange losses to the tune 16.1bn pesos ($1.2bn), which impacted what would otherwise have been a strong quarter for the firm.

Second quarter revenues stood at 191.7bn Pesos, up 9.3 per cent year-on-year, with wireless revenues rising 14.1 per cent and fixed-line revenues 1.7 per cent. However, the company recorded a quarterly net profit of 13.3bn Pesos, a little more than half as much as last year, due to the foreign exchange losses.

Middle Eastern carrier Etisalat saw its consolidated revenue increase four per cent year-on-year to AED8.3bn ($2.26bn) and recorded a net profit of AED1.9bn; an increase of 17 per cent year on year. The firm said on the back of its perfocrmance that it is considering increasing its stake in Saudi affiliate Mobily.

In the hardware space, Samsung posted record profit – in a rare quarter in which rival Apple did not. While Apple’s performance was strong in 2Q12, users have spent the three months waiting for new devices due to be released later in the year. Samsung appears to have capitalised on the lull, recording a profit of 6.72tn won (€5.9bn) in 2Q12; a 21 per cent increase year-on-year.

The firm’s mobile communications business unit recorded 20.52tn won in revenue, which it attributed to the successful launch of its flagship Galaxy SIII smartphone and robust Galaxy Note sales. The handset unit saw earnings jump by 75 per cent from a year earlier.

“Despite a difficult business environment, we achieved stable profits in the second quarter through our differentiated products and competitive technology,” said Robert Yi, senior VP and head of investor relations. “As we move into the second half, continued fiscal instability in Europe and its effect on the global economy will result in the possibility of a slower-than-expected recovery and intensified market competition.”

And finally, in its debut earnings announcement, social media site Facebook reported a $157m loss and saw its share price slide 11 per cent. The firm recorded revenue of $1.18bn in the quarter, up from the $895m it posted in 2Q11, but costs and expenses over the three months totalled $1.93bn, which it primarily attributed to staff share schemes – marking an increase of 295 per cent year-on-year,.

“Our goal is to help every person stay connected and every product they use be a great social experience,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. “That’s why we’re so focused on investing in our priorities of mobile, platform and social ads to help people have these experiences with their friends.”

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