Sprint's Sad State: 182,000 Customers, $594 Million Lost; May Outsource NetworkS

Sprint is in a bad place. Another $594 million and 182,000 customers vanished this quarter, and it's thinking about paying Ericsson $2 billion to maintain its network—yes, it's turning to outsourcing its network. CORRECTED.

CORRECTION: Sprint lost 182,000 customers during the first quarter of this year, not 1.3 million. It lost 1.3 million customers the previous quarter. Apologies for the error.

The talks with Ericsson could still fall through, but the $2 billion outsourcing agreement—which would have Ericsson maintain its cell sites—could save it a bunch of money it spends on "cost of services." The thought is that it could use the extra money on things like products and people, and outsourcing this kind of work is common in Europe and Asia.

The 1.3 million 182,000 customers it bled are still unique to Sprint—every other carrier is still adding customers every quarter while Sprint loses 'em. As tough as it was for everybody last quarter—with Microsoft's profits shrinking over 30 percent, Mac sales flattening—Verizon and AT&T managed to add 1.3 million and 1.2 million customers, respectively.

Can the Pre really save a carrier this badly wounded? Saving one nearly dead company, Palm, will be a feat. Two would be a miracle. [WSJ, WSJ]