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Sprint Beats Reduced Expectations

October 17, 2000

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Third quarter net earnings at Sprint rose 7 percent, helped by increased earnings from its long-distance and local operations.

Net income for the three months ended Sept. 30 was $384 million, or 43 cents per share, up from $359 million, or 41 cents per share, in the year-ago period, the company said Tuesday.

The results for this quarter include investment losses of $32 million, or 4 cents per share, while the 1999 third-quarter numbers include a loss of $60 million from discontinued operations.

Excluding those results, Sprint earned $416 million, or 47 cents per share, down from $419 million, or 41 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial were expecting 46 cents per share, though expectations were reduced following a warning by Sprint last month.

At the time, Sprint said revenue for the quarter was projected to rise about 4 percent, fueled mainly by growth in its data services and bundled service offerings, but said those gains would be partially offset by increased competitive pricing on voice services.

Revenue increased only by 2.4 percent, to $4.4 billion from $4.3 billion.

Sprint PCS, the wireless operation split into a separate business in 1998, posted a loss of $394 million, or 41 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $615 million, or 65 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue nearly doubled to $1.67 billion from $844 million.

Sprint PCS reported increasing its total users by 1.16 million, noting that the average monthly revenue per user increased to $59 from $54 during the third quarter of 1999.

Sprint also said Tuesday that employees would be able to cancel stock options granted to them in 2000 in exchange for an equal number of new options in the future.

Sprint said a majority of the options granted in 2000 reflect a merger premium, which is no longer reflected in the stock price due to the termination of the proposed merger with WorldCom Inc.

Shares of Sprint closed Tuesday down 63 cents to $23.19 _ well off their 52-week high of $75.94 _ while shares of Sprint PCS closed down 94 cents to $30.81, both on the New York Stock Exchange.

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