|• FORM 10Q • OMNIBUS INCENTIVE PLAN AS AMENDED AND RESTATED • COMPUTATION OF RATIO OF EARNINGS TO COMBINED FIXED CHARGES • CERTIFICATION OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER PURSUANT TO RULE 13A-14(A • CERTIFICATION OF CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER PURSUANT TO RULE 13A-14(A • CERTIFICATION OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER PURSUANT TO 18 U.S.C. SECTION 1350 • CERTIFICATION OF CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER PURSUANT TO 18 U.S.C. SECTION 1350 • XBRL TAXONOMY EXTENSION CALCULATION LINKBASE DOCUMENT • XBRL TAXONOMY EXTENSION PRESENTATION LINKBASE DOCUMENT • XBRL INSTANCE DOCUMENT • XBRL TAXONOMY EXTENSION DEFINITION LINKBASE DOCUMENT • XBRL TAXONOMY EXTENSION SCHEMA DOCUMENT • XBRL TAXONOMY EXTENSION LABEL LINKBASE DOCUMENT|
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
For the quarterly period ended June 30, 2012
Commission File number 1-04721
SPRINT NEXTEL CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Registrant's telephone number, including area code: (800) 829-0965
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.) Yes o No x
COMMON SHARES OUTSTANDING AT JULY 31, 2012:
SPRINT NEXTEL CORPORATION
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART I —FINANCIAL INFORMATION
SPRINT NEXTEL CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
See Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements
SPRINT NEXTEL CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE LOSS
See Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements
SPRINT NEXTEL CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
See Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements
SPRINT NEXTEL CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
See Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements
SPRINT NEXTEL CORPORATION
NOTES TO THE CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
The accompanying unaudited consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the instructions to Form 10-Q and Rule 10-01 of Regulation S-X for interim financial information. All normal recurring adjustments considered necessary for a fair presentation have been included. Certain disclosures normally included in annual consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (U.S. GAAP) have been omitted. These consolidated financial statements should be read in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements and notes contained in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011. Unless the context otherwise requires, references to “Sprint,” “we,” “us,” “our” and the “Company” mean Sprint Nextel Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries.
The preparation of the unaudited interim consolidated financial statements requires management of the Company to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues, and expenses and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the unaudited interim consolidated financial statements. These estimates are inherently subject to judgment and actual results could differ.
Certain prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current period presentation.
In May 2011, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued authoritative guidance regarding Fair Value Measurement: Amendments to Achieve Common Fair Value Measurement and Disclosure Requirements in U.S. GAAP and IFRSs which resulted in common requirements for measuring fair value and for disclosing information about fair value measurement under both U.S. GAAP and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), including a consistent definition of the term "fair value." The amendments were effective beginning in the first quarter of 2012, and did not have a material effect on our consolidated financial statements.
The components of investments were as follows:
Equity Method Investment in Clearwire
Sprint's Ownership Interest
Sprint's investment in Clearwire Corporation and its consolidated subsidiary Clearwire Communications LLC (together, "Clearwire") is part of our plan to participate in the fourth generation (4G) wireless broadband market. Sprint offers certain 4G products utilizing Clearwire's 4G wireless Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) broadband network in available markets. As of June 30, 2012, Sprint held approximately 48.3% of a non-controlling economic interest in Clearwire Communications LLC and a 48.3% non-controlling voting interest in Clearwire Corporation (together, “Equity Interests”) for which the carrying value totaled $973 million. In June 2012, Sprint exercised its right to repurchase approximately 78 million Class B Voting shares at par value of $0.0001 per share for approximately eight thousand dollars, previously surrendered in June 2011, resulting in Sprint's non-controlling voting interest now being equivalent to its non-controlling economic interest.
In May 2012, Clearwire announced an at-the-market equity offering in which it may sell shares of its Class A common stock in one or more transactions having an aggregate offering price of up to $300 million. Sprint maintains a preemptive right to participate in Clearwire equity issuances; however, to date Sprint has elected not to exercise the right to buy shares in the equity offering, resulting in a reduction of Sprint's non-controlling economic interest.
In addition to our Equity Interests, Sprint held two notes receivable from Clearwire as of June 30, 2012. On January 2, 2012, in conjunction with new long-term pricing agreements reached between the two companies in the fourth quarter of 2011, Sprint provided $150 million to Clearwire in exchange for a promissory note. The note has a stated interest rate of 11.5% that matures in two installments of $75 million plus accrued interest in January 2013 and in January 2014. The difference between the fair value of the note and its face value at the date of issuance has been recorded as a prepaid expense, which will be amortized over the term of the note to cost of service. Sprint, at its sole discretion, can choose to offset any amounts payable by Clearwire under this promissory note against amounts owed by Sprint under the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreement. Additionally, Sprint holds a note receivable from Clearwire issued in 2008 with a fixed interest rate of 12% and a maturity date of December 2015. The total carrying value of the notes receivable, which includes accretion related to premiums for both notes and fees associated with the 2009 replacement of the 2008 note, was $312 million and $178 million as of June 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011, respectively. The carrying value of Sprint's Equity Interests, together with the long-term portion of the carrying value of the notes receivable, are included in the line item "Investments" in Sprint's consolidated balance sheets. The current portion of the carrying value of the notes receivable is included in the line item "Prepaid expenses and other current assets" in Sprint's consolidated balance sheets.
Equity in Losses and Summarized Financial Information
Equity in losses from Clearwire were $429 million and $719 million for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and $594 million and $1.0 billion for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2011, respectively. Sprint's losses from its investment in Clearwire consist of Sprint's share of Clearwire's net loss and other adjustments, if any, such as non-cash impairment of Sprint's investment, gains or losses associated with the dilution of Sprint's ownership interest resulting from Clearwire's equity issuances, and other items recognized by Clearwire Corporation that do not affect Sprint's economic interest. Sprint's equity in losses from Clearwire include charges that were associated with Clearwire's write-off of certain network and other assets that no longer meet its strategic plans that were $40 million for the six-month period ended June 30, 2012 and $202 million and $294 million for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2011, respectively. The three-month period ended June 30, 2012 also includes a $204 million pre-tax impairment reflecting Sprint's reduction in the carrying value of its investment in Clearwire to an estimated fair value.
Summarized financial information for Clearwire is as follows:
At each financial reporting measurement date, we evaluate the excess, if any, of Sprint's carrying value over the estimated fair value of our investment in Clearwire to determine if such excess, an implied unrealized loss, is other-than-temporary. Our evaluation considers, among other things, both observable and unobservable inputs, including Clearwire's market capitalization, historical volatility associated with Clearwire's common stock, the duration of a decline in Clearwire's average trading stock price below Sprint's carrying value, potential tax benefits, governance rights associated with our non-controlling voting interest, and our expectation of the duration of our ongoing relationship, as well as other factors. Based upon the evaluation of factors described above as of June 30, 2012, we recognized a non-cash impairment of $204 million in the second quarter 2012 to reflect a reduction to our best estimate of fair value associated with our non-controlling economic interests reflecting a per share carrying
value of our investment in Clearwire of $1.38 as compared to Clearwire's closing stock price of $1.12 per share as of June 30, 2012. The determination of an estimate of fair value for a non-public security, such as our non-controlling economic interest, is subject to significant judgment and uncertainty. Clearwire's stock price is subject to significant volatility. Declines in Clearwire's stock price subsequent to June 30, 2012 will be evaluated in future periods for impairment of our remaining investment.
Clearwire Related-Party Transactions
Sprint's equity method investment in Clearwire includes agreements by which we resell wireless data services utilizing Clearwire's 4G WiMAX network. In addition, Clearwire utilizes the third generation (3G) Sprint network to provide dual-mode service to its customers in those areas where access to its 4G WiMAX network is not yet available. Amounts included in our consolidated balance sheets related to our agreement to purchase 4G WiMAX services from Clearwire as of June 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011 totaled $85 million and $5 million, respectively, for prepaid expenses and other current assets and $154 million and $77 million, respectively, for accounts payable, accrued expense and other liabilities. Cost of services and products included in our consolidated statements of comprehensive loss related to our agreement to purchase 4G WiMAX services from Clearwire totaled $104 million and $209 million for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012, and $106 million and $152 million for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2011, respectively.
Cash and cash equivalents, accounts and notes receivable, and accounts payable are carried at cost, which approximates fair value. Our short-term investments (consisting primarily of time deposits, commercial paper, certificate of deposits, and Treasury securities), totaling $902 million and $150 million as of June 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011, respectively, are recorded at amortized cost, and the respective carrying amounts approximate fair value. The fair value of our marketable equity securities totaling $43 million as of both June 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011, is measured on a recurring basis using quoted prices in active markets.
The estimated fair value of current and long-term debt is determined based on quoted prices in active markets or by using other observable inputs that are derived principally from or corroborated by observable market data. The fair value of financing and capital lease obligations is estimated using a valuation model based on the lease terms of the obligations and market-based parameters such as bond interest rates. The following table presents carrying amounts and estimated fair values of our current and long-term debt, financing and capital lease obligations:
Property, plant and equipment consists primarily of network equipment and other long-lived assets used to provide service to our subscribers. In the first quarter 2012, we formalized our plans to take off-air roughly one-third, or 9,600 cell sites, of our total Nextel platform by the middle of 2012 with the remaining sites to be taken off-air by the end of 2013. As a result, in the first quarter 2012, we revised our estimates to shorten the expected useful lives of Nextel platform assets through the expected benefit period of the underlying assets through 2013 and also revised the expected timing and amount of our asset retirement obligations. During the second quarter 2012, as a result of our progress in taking Nextel platform sites off-air and our progress toward notifying and transitioning customers off the Nextel platform, we further reduced our estimated benefit period for the remaining Nextel platform assets through the middle of 2013 resulting in incremental depreciation expense during the period. The amounts reflected as depreciation expense are dependent upon the expected useful lives of assets, which includes our expectation of the timing of assets to be phased out of service, and could result in further revision during the
decommissioning period. In addition, increasing data usage driven by more subscribers, a shift to smartphones, and more data usage per subscriber is expected to require additional legacy 3G data capacity equipment that will not be utilized beyond the final deployment of Network Vision's multi-mode technology, which is expected to continue through the middle of 2014. As a result, the estimated useful lives of such equipment will be shortened, as compared to similar prior capital expenditures, through the date on which Network Vision equipment is deployed and in-service. The incremental effect of accelerated depreciation expense totaled $782 million and $1.3 billion for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012, of which the majority related to shortened useful lives of Nextel platform assets.
In connection with Network Vision, certain spectrum licenses that were not previously placed in service are now being prepared for their intended use. As qualifying activities are performed related to Network Vision, interest expense primarily related to the carrying value of these spectrum licenses is being capitalized to construction in progress within property, plant and equipment. Interest expense capitalized in connection with the construction of long-lived assets totaled $102 million and $217 million for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and $102 million and $201 million for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2011, respectively. Construction in progress (including any capitalized interest) associated with Network Vision, which began in 2011, is expected to be depreciated using the straight-line method based on estimated economic useful lives, which are expected to be depreciated over a weighted average useful life of approximately eight years, once the assets are placed in service.
The components of property, plant and equipment, and the related accumulated depreciation were as follows:
Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets
We hold 1.9 gigahertz (GHz), 800 megahertz (MHz), and 900 MHz Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licenses authorizing the use of radio frequency spectrum to deploy our wireless services. We also hold FCC licenses that are not yet placed in service but that we intend to use in accordance with FCC requirements. As long as the Company acts within the requirements and constraints of the regulatory authorities, the renewal and extension of these licenses is reasonably certain at minimal cost. We are not aware of any technology being developed that would render this spectrum obsolete and have concluded that these licenses are indefinite-lived intangible assets. Our Sprint and Boost Mobile trademarks have also been identified as indefinite-lived intangible assets. Goodwill represents the excess of consideration paid over the estimated fair value of net tangible and identifiable intangible assets acquired in business combinations.
Intangible Assets Subject to Amortization
Sprint's customer relationships are amortized using the sum of the years' digits method. We reduce the gross carrying value and associated accumulated amortization when specified intangible assets become fully amortized.
Accounts payable at June 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011 include liabilities in the amounts of $105 million and $121 million, respectively, for checks issued in excess of associated bank balances but not yet presented for collection.
As of June 30, 2012, Sprint Nextel Corporation, the parent corporation, had $10.0 billion in principal amount of debt outstanding, including amounts drawn under the credit facilities. In addition, $10.5 billion in principal amount of our long-term debt issued by wholly-owned subsidiaries is guaranteed by the parent, of which approximately $6.7 billion is fully and unconditionally guaranteed. The indentures and financing arrangements governing certain subsidiaries' debt contain provisions that limit cash dividend payments on subsidiary common stock. The transfer of cash in the form of advances from the subsidiaries to the parent corporation generally is not restricted. Cash interest payments, net of amounts capitalized of $217 million and $201 million, totaled $573 million and $529 million during the six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively.
Notes consist of senior notes, serial redeemable senior notes, and guaranteed notes, all of which are unsecured, as well as secured notes of iPCS, Inc. (iPCS), which are secured solely with the underlying assets of iPCS. Cash interest on all of the notes is generally payable semi-annually in arrears. As of June 30, 2012, approximately $19.8 billion of the notes were redeemable at the Company's discretion at the then-applicable redemption prices plus accrued interest.
Approximately $7.3 billion of our senior notes and guaranteed notes provide holders with the right to require us to repurchase the notes if a change-of-control triggering event (as defined in our indentures governing applicable notes) occurs. If we are required to make a change-of-control offer, we will offer a cash payment equal to 101% of the aggregate principal amount of notes repurchased plus accrued and unpaid interest.
On March 1, 2012, the Company issued $1.0 billion aggregate principal amount of 9.125% notes due 2017 and $1.0 billion aggregate principal amount of 7.00% guaranteed notes due 2020. Interest is payable semi-annually on March 1 and September 1. The Company, at its option, may redeem some or all of either series of the notes at any time prior to maturity. The 2020 guaranteed notes are guaranteed by the Company's subsidiaries that guarantee its revolving bank credit facility and its facility with Export Development Canada (EDC). On June 8, 2012, the Company redeemed $1.0 billion of the $1.473 billion then outstanding of Nextel Communications, Inc. 6.875% notes due 2013 plus accrued and unpaid interest.
In May 2012, certain of our subsidiaries entered into a $1.0 billion secured equipment credit facility to finance equipment-related purchases from Ericsson for Network Vision. The cost of funds under this facility includes a fixed interest rate of 2.03%, and export credit agency premiums and other fees that, in total, equate to an expected effective interest rate of approximately 6% based on assumptions such as timing and amounts of drawdowns. The facility is secured by a lien on the equipment purchased and is fully and unconditionally guaranteed by the parent. The facility is equally divided into two consecutive tranches of $500 million, with drawdown availability contingent upon Sprint's acquisition of equipment-related purchases, up to the maximum of each tranche, ending on May 31, 2013 and May 31, 2014, for the first and second tranche, respectively. After the first tranche of $500 million expires on May 31, 2013, the second tranche of $500 million may be drawn beginning April 1, 2013 through May 31, 2014. Interest and fully-amortizing principal payments are payable semi-annually on March 30 and September 30, with a final maturity date of March 2017 for both tranches. As of June 30, 2012, we had not yet drawn on the facility. The covenants under the secured equipment credit facility are similar to those of our revolving bank credit facility, EDC facility and those of our guaranteed notes due 2018 and 2020.
As of June 30, 2012, approximately $1.0 billion in letters of credit were outstanding under our $2.2 billion revolving bank credit facility, including the letter of credit required by the 2004 FCC Report and Order to reconfigure the 800 MHz band (the "Report and Order"). As a result, the Company had $1.2 billion of borrowing capacity available under the revolving bank credit facility as of June 30, 2012. Our revolving bank credit facility expires in October 2013. The terms of the revolving bank credit facility provide for an interest rate equal to the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) plus a spread that varies depending on the Company's credit ratings. The Company's unsecured loan agreement with EDC has terms similar to those of the revolving bank credit facility, except that under the terms of the EDC loan, repayments of outstanding amounts cannot be re-drawn. As of June 30, 2012, the EDC loan was fully drawn. In addition, up to $500 million is available through May 31, 2013 under the
first tranche of our secured equipment credit facility, although the use of such funds is limited to equipment-related purchases from Ericsson.
Financing, Capital Lease and Other Obligations
We have approximately 3,000 cell sites that we sold and subsequently leased back. Terms extend through 2021, with renewal options for an additional 20 years. These cell sites continue to be reported as part of our property, plant and equipment due to our continued involvement with the property sold and the transaction is accounted for as a financing. Our capital lease and other obligations are primarily for the use of communication switches.
As of June 30, 2012, the Company was in compliance with all restrictive and financial covenants associated with its borrowings. A default under any of our borrowings could trigger defaults under our other debt obligations, which in turn could result in the maturities being accelerated. Certain indentures that govern our outstanding notes require compliance with various covenants, including covenants that limit the Company's ability to sell all or substantially all of its assets, covenants that limit the ability of the Company and its subsidiaries to incur indebtedness, and covenants that limit the ability of the Company and its subsidiaries to incur liens, as defined by the terms of the indentures.
We are currently restricted from paying cash dividends because our ratio of total indebtedness to trailing four quarters earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and certain other non-recurring items, as defined in the credit facility (adjusted EBITDA), exceeds 2.5 to 1.0. The Company is also obligated to repay the credit facilities if certain change-of-control events occur.
Severance and Exit Costs Activity
For the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012, we recognized costs of $184 million, solely attributable to our Wireless segment, primarily related to lease exit costs associated with taking certain Nextel platform sites off-air in 2012, for which we no longer expect to receive any economic benefit. In addition, for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012, we recognized costs of $27 million ($13 million Wireless; $14 million Wireline) in "Cost of services and products" within the consolidated statements of comprehensive loss related to payments that will continue to be made under our backhaul access contracts for which we will no longer be receiving any economic benefit. We did not recognize any severance or exit costs in the first half of 2011. We expect to incur significant additional exit costs in the future as we continue to take Nextel platform sites off-air and transition our existing backhaul architecture to a replacement technology for our remaining network sites. The amount of these costs cannot be estimated at this time.
The following provides the activity in the severance and exit costs liability included in "Accounts payable", “Accrued expenses and other current liabilities” and "Other liabilities" within the consolidated balance sheets:
For the six-month period ended June 30, 2012, we recorded asset impairments of $84 million of construction in progress costs consisting of $18 million associated with a decision to utilize fiber backhaul, which we expect to be more cost effective, rather than microwave backhaul and $66 million of capitalized assets specific to the spectrum hosting arrangement that we no longer intend to deploy (see Note 11). For the three-month period ended June 30, 2012 and the first half of 2011, there were no asset impairments recorded.
The differences that caused our effective income tax rates to vary from the 35% U.S. federal statutory rate for income taxes were as follows:
The realization of deferred tax assets, including net operating loss carryforwards, is dependent on the generation of future taxable income sufficient to realize the tax deductions, carryforwards and credits. However, our history of consecutive annual losses reduces our ability to rely on expectations of future income in evaluating the ability to realize our deferred tax assets. Valuation allowances on deferred tax assets are recognized if it is determined that it is more likely than not that the asset will not be realized. As a result, the Company recognized an increase in the valuation allowance of $902 million and $533 million for the six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively, on deferred tax assets primarily related to federal and state net operating loss carryforwards generated during the periods. The valuation allowance was $4.8 billion and $3.9 billion as of June 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011, respectively. We do not expect to record significant tax benefits on future net operating losses until our circumstances justify the recognition of such benefits.
Income tax expense of $63 million and $136 million for the six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively, is primarily attributable to taxable temporary differences from amortization of FCC licenses. FCC licenses are amortized over 15 years for income tax purposes but, because these licenses have an indefinite life, they are not amortized for financial statement reporting purposes. This difference results in net deferred income tax expense since the taxable temporary difference cannot be scheduled to reverse during the loss carryforward period. In addition, during the six-month period ended June 30, 2012, a $33 million tax benefit was recorded as a result of the successful resolution of various state income tax uncertainties. During the six-month period ended June 30, 2011, a $52 million expense was recorded as a result of changes in corporate state income tax laws.
As of June 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011, we maintained a liability related to unrecognized tax benefits of $214 million and $225 million, respectively. Cash was paid for net income taxes of $22 million and $31 million during the six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively.
Our Network Vision multi-mode network technology is designed to utilize a single base station capable of handling various spectrum bands, including Sprint's 800 MHz and 1.9 GHz spectrum as well as spectrum bands owned or accessed by other parties. In June 2011, we entered into a 15-year arrangement with LightSquared LP and LightSquared Inc. (collectively, “LightSquared”). Under the terms of the arrangement, and in conjunction with our Network Vision deployment, we agreed to deploy and operate a long term evolution (LTE) network capable of
utilizing the 1.6 GHz spectrum licensed to or available to LightSquared during the term of the arrangement, a service we refer to as "spectrum hosting."
On March 16, 2012, because certain conditions were not met by LightSquared, we elected to terminate the arrangement. Because we have no future performance obligations with respect to the arrangement, we recognized $236 million of the $310 million of advanced payments received from LightSquared as other operating income within "Other, net" in the first quarter 2012. We also refunded $65 million in prepayments LightSquared made to cover Sprint's costs that were not ultimately incurred by us. In April 2012, we refunded approximately $2 million of the remaining $9 million of advanced payments as finalization of all remaining outstanding items subject to the termination and unwind provisions of the original arrangement. We recognized the remaining $7 million of advanced payments as operating income during the second quarter of 2012. During the first quarter 2012, we impaired approximately $66 million of capitalized assets that the Company no longer intends to deploy as a result of the termination of the spectrum hosting arrangement with LightSquared (see Note 9). The net gain of $170 million recorded in the first quarter of 2012 will be substantially offset in future periods by operating expenses related to non-cancellable executory contracts with vendors that the Company entered into in contemplation of providing the spectrum hosting services to LightSquared.
Litigation, Claims and Assessments
In March 2009, a shareholder brought suit, Bennett v. Sprint Nextel Corp., in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, alleging that the Company and three of our former officers violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 by failing adequately to disclose certain alleged operational difficulties subsequent to the Sprint-Nextel merger, and by purportedly issuing false and misleading statements regarding the write-down of goodwill. The plaintiff seeks class action status for purchasers of our common stock from October 26, 2006 to February 27, 2008. On January 6, 2011, the Court denied our motion to dismiss. Subsequently, our motion to certify the January 6, 2011 order for an interlocutory appeal was denied, and discovery has begun. Plaintiff moved to certify a class of bondholders as well as owners of common stock, and we have opposed that motion. We believe the complaint is without merit and intend to defend the matter vigorously. We do not expect the resolution of this matter to have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.
In addition, five related shareholder derivative suits were filed against the Company and certain of our present and/or former officers and directors. The first, Murphy v. Forsee, was filed in state court in Kansas on April 8, 2009, was removed to federal court, and was stayed by the court pending resolution of the motion to dismiss the Bennett case; the second, Randolph v. Forsee, was filed on July 15, 2010 in state court in Kansas, was removed to federal court, and was remanded back to state court; the third, Ross-Williams v. Bennett, et al., was filed in state court in Kansas on February 1, 2011; the fourth, Price v. Forsee, et al., was filed in state court in Kansas on April 15, 2011; and the fifth, Hartleib v. Forsee, et. al., was filed in federal court in Kansas on July 14, 2011. These cases are essentially stayed while we proceed with discovery in the Bennett case. We do not expect the resolution of these matters to have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.
On April 19, 2012, the New York Attorney General filed a complaint alleging that Sprint has fraudulently failed to collect and pay more than $100 million in New York sales taxes on receipts from its sale of wireless telephone services since July 2005. The complaint seeks recovery of triple damages as well as penalties and interest. We moved to dismiss the complaint on June 14, 2012, and the parties are in the process of briefing that motion. We believe the complaint is without merit and intend to defend this matter vigorously. On July 23, 2012, the SEC issued a formal order of investigation relating to the Company's sales tax collection. The Company is cooperating with the staff of the SEC in connection with the investigation. The Company cannot predict the outcome of, or the time-frame for, the conclusion of the SEC investigation. We do not expect the resolution of these matters to have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.
In addition, seven related shareholder derivative suits were filed against the Company and certain of its current and former officers and directors. Each suit alleges generally that the individual defendants breached their
fiduciary duties to the Company and its shareholders by allegedly permitting, and failing to disclose, the actions alleged in the suit filed by the New York Attorney General. One suit, filed by the Louisiana Municipal Police Employees Retirement System, is pending in federal court in New York; one suit is pending in state court in Johnson County, Kansas; and five suits are pending in federal court in Kansas. The six Kansas suits have been stayed by agreement among the parties. We do not expect the resolution of these matters to have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.
Sprint is currently involved in numerous court actions alleging that Sprint is infringing various patents. Most of these cases effectively seek only monetary damages. A small number of these cases are brought by companies that sell products and seek injunctive relief as well. These cases have progressed to various degrees and a small number may go to trial if they are not otherwise resolved. Adverse resolution of these cases could require us to pay significant damages, cease certain activities, or cease selling the relevant products and services. In many circumstances, we would be indemnified for monetary losses that we incur with respect to the actions of our suppliers or service providers. We do not expect the resolution of these cases to have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.
Various other suits, inquiries, proceedings and claims, either asserted or unasserted, including purported class actions typical for a large business enterprise and intellectual property matters, are possible or pending against us or our subsidiaries. If our interpretation of certain laws or regulations, including those related to various state matters such as sales, use or property taxes, were found to be mistaken, it could result in payments by us. While it is not possible to determine the ultimate disposition of each of these proceedings and whether they will be resolved consistent with our beliefs, we expect that the outcome of such proceedings, individually or in the aggregate, will not have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.
Spectrum Reconfiguration Obligations
The Report and Order includes rules regarding interference in the 800 MHz band and a comprehensive plan to reconfigure the 800 MHz band. The Report and Order provides for the exchange of a portion of our 800 MHz FCC spectrum licenses, and requires us to fund the cost incurred by public safety systems and other incumbent licensees to reconfigure the 800 MHz spectrum band. In addition, we received licenses for 10 MHz of nationwide spectrum in the 1.9 GHz band; however, we were required to relocate and reimburse the incumbent licensees in this band for their costs of relocation to another band designated by the FCC. We completed all of our 1.9 GHz incumbent relocation and reimbursement obligations in the second half of 2010.
The minimum cash obligation is $2.8 billion under the Report and Order. We are, however, obligated to pay the full amount of the costs relating to the reconfiguration plan, even if those costs exceed $2.8 billion. As required under the terms of the Report and Order, a letter of credit has been secured to provide assurance that funds will be available to pay the relocation costs of the incumbent users of the 800 MHz spectrum. We submit the qualified 800 MHz relocation costs to the FCC for review for potential letter of credit reductions on a periodic basis. As a result of these reviews, our letter of credit was reduced from $2.5 billion at the start of the project to $910 million as of June 30, 2012, as approved by the FCC.
Total payments directly attributable to our performance under the Report and Order, from the inception of the program, are approximately $3.1 billion, of which $107 million was incurred related to FCC licenses during the six-month period ended June 30, 2012. When incurred, these costs are generally accounted for either as property, plant and equipment or as additions to FCC licenses. Although costs incurred to date have exceeded $2.8 billion, not all of those costs have been reviewed and accepted as eligible by the transition administrator. Regardless, we continue to estimate that total eligible direct costs attributable to the spectrum reconfigurations will exceed the minimum cash obligation of $2.8 billion. This estimate is dependent on significant assumptions including the final licensee costs and costs associated with relocating licensees in the Mexican border region for which there is currently no approved border plan.
Completion of the 800 MHz band reconfiguration was initially required by June 26, 2008. The FCC continues to grant 800 MHz public safety licensees additional time to complete their band reconfigurations which, in turn, delays Sprint's access to some of our 800 MHz replacement channels. Accordingly, we will continue to transition to our 800 MHz replacement channels consistent with public safety licensees' reconfiguration progress. We anticipate that the continuing reconfiguration progress will be sufficient to support the 800 MHz portion of Sprint's Network Vision rollout. On May 24, 2012, the FCC revised its rules to authorize Sprint to deploy wireless broadband services, such as CDMA and LTE, on its 800 MHz spectrum, including channels that become available to Sprint upon completion of the 800 MHz band reconfiguration program.
As of June 30, 2012, Sprint sponsored three incentive plans: the 2007 Omnibus Incentive Plan (2007 Plan), the 1997 Long-Term Incentive Program (1997 Program) and the Nextel Incentive Equity Plan (Nextel Plan) (together, "Compensation Plans"). In the first quarter 2012, the Management Incentive Stock Option Plan (MISOP) became inactive when all outstanding options expired. Sprint also sponsors an Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP). Under the 2007 Plan, we may grant share and non-share based awards, including stock options, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock, restricted stock units, performance shares, performance units and other equity-based and cash awards to employees, outside directors, and other eligible individuals as defined by the plan. In general, options are granted with an exercise price equal to the market value of the underlying shares on the grant date, vest on an annual basis over three or four years, and have a contractual term of ten years. Restricted stock units generally have performance and service requirements or service requirements only with vesting periods ranging from one to three years. Performance-based restricted stock units awarded in 2012 have a three-year performance period and vest subject to the Company's performance as compared to objectives established when the award was granted. Performance-based restricted stock units awarded in 2011 and 2010 have three distinct one-year performance periods and are granted in each period once the performance objectives are established, usually during the first quarter of each calendar year. Employees and directors who are granted restricted stock units are not required to pay for the shares but generally must remain employed with us, or continue to serve as a member of our board of directors, until the restrictions lapse, which is typically three years for employees and one year for directors. The Compensation Committee of our board of directors, or one or more executive officers should the Compensation Committee so authorize, as provided in the 2007 Plan, will determine the terms of each share and non-share based award. No new grants can be made under the 1997 Program or the Nextel Plan.
As of June 30, 2012, the number of shares available and reserved for future grants under the 2007 Plan totaled approximately 135 million common shares. The number of shares available under the 2007 Plan includes shares originally granted under the 1997 Program, the Nextel Plan or the MISOP that are forfeited, expired, or otherwise terminated, which totaled approximately 1 million shares in the three-month period ended June 30, 2012. As of June 30, 2012, restricted stock units and options to acquire approximately 81 million shares were outstanding under the 2007 Plan, restricted stock units and options to acquire approximately 8 million shares were outstanding under the 1997 Program, and options to acquire approximately 2 million shares were outstanding under the Nextel Plan. As of June 30, 2012, the ESPP has approximately 75 million common shares authorized and reserved for future purchases. We use new shares to satisfy share-based awards or treasury shares, if available.
The cost of employee services received in exchange for share-based awards classified as equity is measured using the estimated fair value of the award on the date of the grant, and that cost is recognized over the period that the award recipient is required to provide service in exchange for the award. Awards of instruments classified as liabilities are measured at the estimated fair value at each reporting date through settlement. Share-based compensation cost related to awards with graded vesting is recognized using the straight-line method.
Pre-tax share and non-share based compensation charges from our incentive plans included in net loss were $22 million and $39 million for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012, and $19 million and $37 million for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2011. The net income tax benefit recognized in the consolidated financial statements for share-based compensation awards for the same four periods was $4 million, $8 million, $3 million and $8 million, respectively.
As of June 30, 2012, there was $61 million of total unrecognized compensation cost related to non-vested incentive awards that are expected to be recognized over a weighted average period of 1.83 years. Cash received from exercise under all share-based payment arrangements, net of shares surrendered for employee tax obligations, was $8 million for the six-month period ended June 30, 2011. No options were exercised in the six-month period ended June 30, 2012.
The fair value of each option award is estimated on the grant date using the Black-Scholes option valuation model, based on several assumptions including the risk-free interest rate, volatility, expected dividend yield and expected term. Options outstanding as of June 30, 2012 includes options granted under the 2007 Plan, the 1997 Program and the Nextel Plan, as discussed above.
There were no options granted in the three-month period ended June 30, 2012. Options to purchase approximately 12 million shares were granted during the six-month period ended June 30, 2012. The weighted average grant date fair value of options awarded during the six-month period ended June 30, 2012 was $1.22 compared to $1.89 for the same prior year period. The total intrinsic value of options exercised during the six-month period ended June 30, 2011 was $3 million. There were no options exercised during the six-month period ended June 30, 2012.
Restricted Stock Units
The fair value of each restricted stock unit award is calculated using the share price at the date of grant. Restricted stock units outstanding consist of those units granted under the 2007 Plan and the 1997 Program, as discussed above. Restricted stock units granted in the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 were insignificant and 13 million, respectively.
The total fair value of restricted stock units vested was $2 million for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and was $3 million and $15 million for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2011, respectively. The weighted-average grant date fair value of restricted stock units granted during the six-month period ended June 30, 2012 was $2.24 per unit, compared with $4.27 per unit for the same prior year period.
Certain restricted stock units outstanding as of June 30, 2012 are entitled to dividend equivalents paid in cash, if dividends are declared and paid on common shares, but performance-based restricted stock units are not entitled to dividend equivalent payments until the applicable performance and service criteria have been met.
Basic loss per common share is calculated by dividing net loss by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding during the period. Diluted earnings (loss) per common share adjusts basic earnings (loss) per common share, computed using the treasury stock method, for the effects of potentially dilutive common shares, if the effect is not antidilutive. Potentially dilutive common shares issuable under our equity-based compensation plans where the average market price exceeded the exercise price were 12 million and 42 million shares as of June 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively. All such potentially dilutive shares were antidilutive for the six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011 and, therefore, have no effect on our determination of dilutive weighted average number of shares outstanding.
Sprint operates two reportable segments: Wireless and Wireline.
We define segment earnings as wireless or wireline operating (loss) income before other segment expenses such as depreciation, amortization, severance, exit costs, goodwill impairments, asset impairments, and other items, if any, solely and directly attributable to the segment representing items of a non-recurring or unusual nature. Expenses and income items excluded from segment earnings are managed at the corporate level. Transactions between segments are generally accounted for based on estimated market rates, which we believe approximate fair value. The Company generally re-establishes these rates at the beginning of each fiscal year. Over the past several years, there has been an industry-wide trend of lower rates due to increased competition from other wireline and wireless communications companies as well as cable and Internet service providers.
Segment financial information is as follows:
Sprint Nextel Corporation, including its consolidated subsidiaries, (“Sprint,” “we,” “us,” “our” or the “Company”) is a communications company offering a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications products and services that are designed to meet the needs of individual consumers, businesses, government subscribers, and resellers. The communications industry has been and will continue to be highly competitive on the basis of the quality and types of services and devices offered, as well as price. The Company is currently undergoing a significant program, Network Vision, to upgrade its existing wireless communication network, including the decommissioning of its Nextel platform for which we expect to re-purpose valuable spectrum resources that currently support that network (see “Overview - Network Vision”). To support our expected capital requirements associated with Network Vision, we have raised debt financing of approximately $6 billion during 2011 and 2012 as well as a secured equipment credit facility with availability of up to $1 billion (see “Liquidity and Capital Resources - Liquidity”). In addition, the Company has experienced significant losses of subscribers in the critical postpaid wireless market since the third quarter 2006, but, as a result of the steps taken to retain and attract such subscribers, has reduced the annual postpaid net subscriber losses beginning in 2009. We expect the Nextel platform to be shut down by the middle of 2013 and our trend of net subscriber losses on the Nextel platform to continue while the remaining Nextel platform customer base (4.4 million subscribers as of June 30, 2012) declines during this period. As a result, we are competing with other wireless service providers to maintain the ongoing customer relationship with these subscribers through service provided on our Sprint platform. During the second quarter 2012, we were able to recapture approximately 431,000, or 60%, of Nextel platform postpaid subscribers that deactivated during the period. We expect the rate at which we recapture Nextel platform postpaid subscribers to decline as we approach the final shutdown of the Nextel network. Prospectively, our efforts are focused on profitable growth through service provided on an enhanced wireless network on the Sprint platform while continuing to improve the customer experience, strengthen our brands and generating operating cash flow.
Description of the Company
We are the third largest wireless communications company in the United States based on wireless revenue, one of the largest providers of wireline long distance services, and one of the largest Internet carriers in the nation. Our services are provided through our ownership of extensive wireless networks, an all-digital global long distance network and a Tier 1 Internet backbone. We offer wireless and wireline voice and data transmission services to subscribers in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands under the Sprint corporate brand, which includes our retail brands of Sprint®, Nextel®, Boost Mobile®, Virgin Mobile®, and Assurance Wireless® on networks that utilize third generation (3G) code division multiple access (CDMA), integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN), or Internet protocol (IP) technologies. We also offer fourth generation (4G) services through our deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE) as part of our network modernization plan, Network Vision, and also utilize Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) technology through our mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) wholesale relationship with Clearwire Corporation and its subsidiary Clearwire Communications LLC (together "Clearwire"). We utilize these networks to offer our wireless and wireline subscribers differentiated products and services whether through the use of a single network or a combination of these networks. We offer wireless services on a postpaid and prepaid payment basis to retail subscribers and also on a wholesale and affiliate basis, which includes the sale of wireless services that utilize the Sprint network but are sold under the wholesaler's brand. We provide a broad suite of wireline voice and data communications services to other communications companies and targeted business and consumer subscribers. In addition, we provide voice, data, and IP communication services to our Wireless segment, and IP and other services to cable Multiple System Operators (MSOs) that resell our local and long distance services and use our back office systems and network assets in support of their telephone service provided over cable facilities primarily to residential end-use subscribers.
Our business strategy is to be responsive to changing customer mobility demands by being innovative and differentiated in the marketplace. Our future growth plans and strategy revolve around achieving the following three key priorities:
We have reduced confusion over pricing plans and complex bills with our Simply Everything® and Everything Data plans and our Any Mobile AnytimeSM feature. We also offer price plans tailored to business subscribers such as Business Advantage, which allows for the flexibility to mix and match plans that include voice, voice and messaging, or voice, messaging and data to meet individual business needs and also allows the Any Mobile Anytime feature with certain plans. To simplify and improve the customer experience, we continue to offer Ready Now, which trains our subscribers before they leave the store on how to use their mobile devices. We aim to increase our business customers' productivity by providing differentiated services that utilize the advantages of combining IP networks with wireless technology. This differentiation enables us to retain and acquire both wireline, wireless and combined wireline-wireless subscribers on our networks. We have also continued to focus on further improving customer care. We implemented initiatives that are designed to improve call center processes and procedures, and standardized our performance measures through various metrics, including customer satisfaction ratings with respect to customer care, first call resolution, and calls per subscriber. Our product strategy is to provide our customers with a broad array of device selections and applications and services that run on these devices to meet the growing needs of customer mobility. Our multi-functional device portfolio includes many cutting edge devices from various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Our mobile broadband portfolio consists of devices such as hotspots, which allow the connection of multiple WiFi enabled devices. Our networks can also be accessed through our portfolio of embedded tablets and laptop devices.
We support the open development of applications, content, and devices on our network platforms through products and services such as Google Voice™, which allows for functionality such as one phone number for all devices (home, wireless, office, etc.), routing calls between devices, and in-call options to switch between devices during a call, and Google Wallet™, which provides the ability to store loyalty, gift and credit cards, and to tap and pay while you shop using your wireless device. We have also launched multiple Sprint ID packs that download applications, widgets and other content related to a person's interests at the push of a button; and recently introduced Sprint Guardian, a collection of mobile safety and device security bundles that provide families relevant tools to help stay safe and secure. In addition, we enable a variety of business and consumer third-party relationships through our portfolio of machine-to-machine solutions, which we offer on a retail postpaid and wholesale basis. Our machine-to-machine solutions portfolio provides a secure, real-time, and reliable wireless two-way data connection across a broad range of connected devices, including OEM devices and after-market in-vehicle connectivity and electric vehicle charging stations, point-of-sale systems, kiosks and vending machines, asset tracking, digital signage, security, smartgrid utilities, medical equipment, and a variety of other consumer electronics and appliances.
Our prepaid portfolio currently includes multiple brands, each designed to appeal to specific subscriber segments. Boost Mobile serves subscribers who are voice and text messaging-centric with its popular Monthly Unlimited plan with Shrinkage service where bills are reduced after six on-time payments. Virgin Mobile serves subscribers who are device and data-oriented with our Beyond Talk™ plans and our broadband plan, Broadband2Go, which offer subscribers control, flexibility, and connectivity through various communication vehicles. Virgin Mobile is also designated as a Lifeline-only Eligible Telecommunications Carrier in certain states which provides service for the Lifeline program under our Assurance Wireless brand. Assurance Wireless provides eligible subscribers who meet income requirements or are receiving government assistance with a free wireless phone and 250 free minutes of local and long-distance monthly service.
We have focused our wholesale business on enabling our diverse network of customers to successfully grow their business by providing them with an array of network, product, and device solutions. This allows our customers to customize this full suite of value-added solutions to meet the growing demands of their businesses. As part of these growing demands, some of our wholesale MVNO's are also selling prepaid services under the Lifeline program.
In addition to our brand and customer-oriented goals, we continue to focus on generating increased operating cash flow through competitive rate plans for postpaid and prepaid subscribers, multi-branded strategies, and effectively managing our cost structure. Certain of our strategic decisions, such as Network Vision and the introduction of the iPhone®, which on average carries a higher equipment net subsidy, will result in a reduction in cash flows from operations in the near term. However, we believe these actions will generate long-term benefits, including growth in valuable postpaid subscribers, a reduction in variable cost of service per unit and long-term accretion to cash flows from operations. See “Liquidity and Capital Resources” for more information.
In December 2010, we announced Network Vision, a multi-year network infrastructure initiative intended to provide subscribers with an enhanced network experience by improving voice quality, coverage, and data speeds, while enhancing network flexibility, reducing operating costs, and improving environmental sustainability through the utilization of multiple spectrum bands onto a single multi-mode base station. In addition to implementing these multi-mode base stations, this plan encompasses next-generation push-to-talk technology with broadband capabilities and the integration of multi-mode chipsets into smartphones, tablets and other broadband devices, including machine-to-machine products. Through the deployment of Network Vision, we expect to migrate to a single nationwide network allowing for the consolidation and optimization of our 800 megahertz (MHz) and 1.9 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum, as well as other spectrum owned by third-parties, into multi-mode stations allowing us to repurpose spectrum to enhance coverage, particularly around the in-building experience. The multi-mode technology also utilizes software-based solutions with interchangeable hardware to provide greater network flexibility, which also allows for the deployment of LTE. As we migrate to a single nationwide network, we will decommission the Nextel platform, which will enable us to eliminate the ongoing fixed costs of this network. As a result, we expect to continue the trend of net losses of retail subscribers on our Nextel platform as we target retention of these subscribers to the Sprint platform during the period in which we are preparing for the shutdown of the Nextel platform, which began during the first quarter 2012 and is expected to continue through the middle of 2013. The net losses on the Nextel platform are expected to fluctuate depending on the timing of subscriber decisions and the nature of the subscriber base affected by our decommissioning efforts.
Work has begun on approximately 38,000 cell sites, and we powered on-air our first multi-mode base station on December 6, 2011. In addition, on July 15, 2012, we launched five LTE markets. Further deployments of Network Vision technology, including LTE market launches and enhancements of Sprint Direct Connect, the next generation of push-to-talk technology, are expected to continue through the middle of 2014. We expect Network Vision to bring financial benefit to the Company through migration to one common network, which is expected to reduce network maintenance and operating costs through capital efficiencies, reduced energy costs, lower roaming expenses, backhaul savings, and reduction in total cell sites.
The deployment related to these changes in technology have resulted in incremental charges during the period of implementation of our multi-mode technology and Nextel platform decommissioning including, but not limited to, an increase in depreciation associated with existing assets related to both the Nextel and Sprint platforms due to changes in our estimates of the remaining useful lives of long-lived assets, changes in the expected timing and amount of asset retirement obligations, and lease exit and other contract termination costs. In the first quarter of 2012, we formalized our plans to take off-air roughly one-third, or 9,600 cell sites, of our total Nextel platform by the middle of 2012 with the remaining sites to be taken off-air by the end of 2013. As a result, in the first quarter 2012, we revised our estimates to shorten the expected useful lives of Nextel platform assets through the expected benefit period of the underlying assets through 2013 and also revised the expected timing and amount of our asset retirement obligations. During the second quarter 2012, as a result of our progress in taking Nextel platform sites off-air and our progress toward notifying and transitioning customers off the Nextel platform, we further reduced our estimated benefit period for the remaining Nextel platform assets through the middle of 2013 resulting in incremental depreciation expense. The amounts reflected as depreciation expense are dependent upon the expected useful lives of assets, which includes our expectation of the timing of assets to be phased out of service, and could result in further revision during the decommissioning period. We estimate the incremental effect of accelerated depreciation related to Nextel platform assets and related asset retirement obligations in our full year 2012 results to be in the range of approximately $1.7 billion to $1.9 billion. The remaining net book value of Nextel platform assets as of June 30, 2012 was approximately $2.0 billion, which we expect to recognize as depreciation expense on an approximately ratable basis through June 30, 2013. As of the end of the second quarter 2012 we achieved a substantial majority of the 2012 target to take 9,600 cell sites off-air which has resulted in lease exit costs totaling approximately $184 million. We expect to complete our transition of customers from the Nextel platform to our Sprint platform as early as June 2013, which should allow us to take off-air the remainder of our Nextel platform sites. We expect to incur significant additional charges in the future under other tower lease agreements as we continue to take off-air Nextel platform sites as well as transition our existing backhaul architecture to a replacement technology for our remaining network sites.
We are also experiencing increased data usage driven by more subscribers, a shift to smartphones, and more data usage per subscriber, which has required additional capital expenditures of legacy 3G data capacity equipment on our current Sprint platform. As we deploy Network Vision, we intend to maximize the use of previously deployed data capacity equipment when possible; however, based on our capacity needs during the implementation period of Network Vision, we expect additional legacy 3G data capacity expenditures that will not be utilized beyond the final deployment of Network Vision's multi-mode technology, which is expected to continue through the middle of 2014. As a result, the estimated useful lives of such equipment have been shortened, as compared to similar prior capital expenditures, through the middle of 2014 in which Network Vision equipment is deployed and in-service, which we also expect will contribute to an increase in depreciation expense.
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Consolidated segment earnings increased $137 million, or 10%, and decreased $164 million, or 6%, in the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 as compared to the same periods in 2011. Consolidated segment earnings consist of our Wireless and Wireline segments, which are discussed below, and Corporate, other and eliminations.
Depreciation and Amortization Expense
Depreciation expense increased $698 million, or 62%, and $1.2 billion, or 52%, in the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 compared to the same periods in 2011. The deployment related to the changes in technology as a result of Network Vision is resulting in incremental charges during the period of implementation including, but not limited to, an increase in depreciation associated with existing assets related to both the Nextel and Sprint platforms, due to changes in our estimates of the remaining useful lives of long-lived assets, and the expected timing and amount of asset retirement obligations, which we expect to continue to have a material impact on our results of operations during 2012 and 2013. The incremental effect of accelerated depreciation due to the implementation of Network Vision was $782 million and $1.3 billion, of which the majority related to the Nextel platform, during the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012. The increase related to accelerated depreciation was slightly offset by a net decrease in depreciation as a result of assets that became fully depreciated or were retired. The amount of accelerated depreciation in the first and second quarter 2012 is expected to be disproportionately higher, primarily as a result of our initial phase of taking Nextel platform sites off-air, to the accelerated depreciation recognized in the remainder of 2012 and 2013 as it is dependent upon when the assets are expected to be phased out of service. In addition to the incremental depreciation expense resulting from revisions to estimated useful lives, we plan to increase capital expenditures during the period of implementation of Network Vision, which is also expected to result in an increase in depreciation expense over the next several years as those assets are placed in service.
Amortization expense declined $37 million, or 32%, and $94 million, or 38%, in the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 as compared to the same periods in 2011, primarily due to the absence of amortization for customer relationship intangible assets related to the 2006 acquisition of Nextel Partners, Inc. and the 2009 acquisition of Virgin Mobile USA, Inc., which became fully amortized in the second quarter 2011. Customer relationships are amortized using the sum-of-the-years'-digits method, resulting in higher amortization rates in early periods that decline over time.
The following table provides additional information of items included in “Other, net” for the six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011.
Other, net represented $184 million of expense and $14 million of income in the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012, respectively, as compared to zero in the same periods in 2011. Severance, exit costs, and asset impairments include lease exit costs associated with taking certain Nextel platform sites off-air in the second quarter 2012 and asset impairments in the first quarter 2012, which consisted of $18 million of assets associated with a decision to utilize fiber backhaul, which we expect to be more cost effective, rather than microwave backhaul and $66 million of capitalized assets that we no longer intend to deploy as a result of the termination of the spectrum hosting arrangement with LightSquared in the first quarter 2012. We did not accrue lease exit costs for certain sites taken off-air in the second quarter of 2012 as these sites are subject to agreements under which we expect to continue to receive economic benefit for the remaining term. As a result of this factor, as well as the variability of factors that are used in the estimate of lease exit costs, the relationship of the costs recognized in the current quarter to the number of sites taken off-air is not necessarily indicative of future per-site charges as we complete our transition of Nextel customers and continue to take sites off-air. Spectrum hosting contract termination is due to the recognition of $236 million of the total $310 million paid by LightSquared in 2011 as operating income in "Other, net" due to the termination of our spectrum hosting arrangement with LiqhtSquared. Additional information related to these items can be found in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Interest expense increased $82 million, or 34%, and $131 million, or 27%, in the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012, respectively, as compared to the same periods in 2011, primarily due to increased weighted average long-term debt balances as a result of November 2011 and March 2012 debt issuances partially offset by January 2011, December 2011 and June 2012 debt repayments and increased effective interest rates partially offset by an increase in the amount of interest capitalized. We expect interest capitalization related to spectrum licenses not previously utilized to decline significantly as we plan to have a substantial portion of the value of our spectrum licenses to be ready for use during 2012. As a result, we estimate interest capitalization of approximately $20 to $40 million to be recognized for the remainder of 2012, the majority of which is expected to be recognized during the third quarter 2012, and is subject to our estimates of timing in which Network Vision core sites are deployed. The effective interest rate, which includes capitalized interest, on the weighted average long-term debt balance of $22.0 billion and $18.5 billion was 7.8% and 7.2% for the three-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively. The effective interest rate, which includes capitalized interest, on the weighted average long-term debt balance of $21.3 billion and $18.8 billion was 7.9% and 7.2% for the six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively. See “Liquidity and Capital Resources” for more information on the Company's financing activities.
Equity in Losses of Unconsolidated Investments and Other, net
Clearwire owns and operates a next generation mobile broadband network that provides high-speed residential and mobile Internet access services and residential voice services in communities throughout the country. Clearwire heavily invested in building its network and acquiring other assets necessary to expand its WiMAX business during 2009 and 2010, which resulted in increased operating losses and reduced liquidity. In August 2011, Clearwire announced its intention to deploy an LTE network subject to the availability of additional funding. In December 2011, Clearwire issued additional equity and raised net proceeds of approximately $716 million. Additionally, in January 2012, Clearwire issued additional indebtedness and raised net proceeds of approximately $295 million. We expect Clearwire to continue to generate net losses in the near term as it executes its business plan, including the deployment of an LTE network. Our intent to hold our investment in Clearwire is based, in part, on our subscriber base of 4G WiMAX subscribers that utilize Clearwire's network and our intent to sell 4G WiMAX devices through 2012 in addition to Clearwire's ability to deploy an LTE network.
Equity in losses of unconsolidated investments and other, net primarily consists of our proportionate share of losses from our equity method investments and also includes other miscellaneous income/(expense). Equity losses associated with our investment in Clearwire consist of Sprint's share of Clearwire's net loss and other adjustments such as gains or losses associated with the dilution of Sprint's ownership interest resulting from Clearwire's equity issuances, Sprint's impairment, if any, of its investment in Clearwire, and other items recognized by Clearwire Corporation that do not affect Sprint's economic interest. Equity in losses from Clearwire were $429 million and $594 million for the three-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011, and $719 million and $1.0 billion for the six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively. Sprint's equity in losses from Clearwire include charges that were associated with Clearwire's write-off of certain network and other assets that no longer meet its strategic plans. These charges were $202 million for the three-month period ended June 30, 2011, and $40 million and $294 million for the six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively. The three-month period ended June 30, 2012 also includes a $204 million pre-tax impairment reflecting the reduction of our investment in Clearwire to its estimated fair value. Additional declines in the estimated fair value of Clearwire may require us to evaluate the decline in relation to the carrying value of our investment in Clearwire. A conclusion by us that additional declines in the estimated fair value of Clearwire are other than temporary could result in an additional impairment of a portion, or all, of our remaining carrying value of $973 million as of June 30, 2012. Each $.10 per share change in the value of Clearwire's traded stock price results in a $70.5 million change in the estimated fair value of our equity investment based on Sprint's equity interest as of June 30, 2012.
On November 30, 2011, Sprint entered into new agreements with Clearwire that established long-term pricing terms for 4G services, both WiMAX and LTE. Under terms of the agreements, Sprint is required to pay Clearwire $926 million in total over the course of 2012 and 2013 in exchange for unlimited WiMAX services during those years. The agreements also establish long-term usage-based pricing for LTE services in 2012 and beyond and WiMAX services in 2014 and beyond. Under the terms, Sprint may also make a series of refundable prepayments up to $350 million for LTE services, if Clearwire achieves certain build-out targets and network specifications by June 2013 or obtains purchase commitments for LTE services from other customers. These payments, beginning in 2013, will be applied towards LTE usage over the remaining term of the contract. In addition, the agreements provide improved terms and competitive pricing for re-wholesaling of WiMAX services by Sprint beginning in 2012. As part of the agreements, on January 2, 2012, Sprint provided $150 million to Clearwire in exchange for a promissory note with a stated interest rate of 11.5% that matures in two installments of $75 million plus accrued interest in January 2013 and in January 2014. Sprint, at its sole discretion, can choose to offset any amounts payable by Clearwire under this promissory note against amounts owed by Sprint under the MVNO agreement.
Income Tax Expense
The consolidated effective tax rate was an expense of approximately 3% and 12% during the six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively. The income tax expense for the six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011 is primarily attributable to taxable temporary differences from amortization of FCC licenses and includes a $902 million and a $533 million net increase to the valuation allowance for federal and state deferred tax assets primarily related to net operating loss carryforwards generated during the respective periods. The income tax expense for the six-month period ended June 30, 2012 also includes a $33 million tax benefit resulting from the resolution of various state income tax uncertainties. The income tax expense for the six-month period ended June 30, 2011 also includes a $52 million expense resulting from changes in corporate state income tax laws. We do not expect to record significant tax benefits on future net operating losses until our circumstances justify the recognition of such benefits. Additional information related to items impacting the effective tax rates can be found in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Segment Earnings - Wireless
Wireless segment earnings are primarily a function of wireless service revenue, costs to acquire subscribers, network and interconnection costs to serve those subscribers and other Wireless segment operating expenses. The costs to acquire our subscribers include revenue from the sale of wireless devices and accessories offset by the cost at which we sell our devices, referred to as equipment net subsidies, as well as the marketing and sales costs incurred to attract those subscribers. Network costs primarily represent switch and cell site costs and interconnection costs, which generally consist of per-minute usage fees and roaming fees paid to other carriers. The remaining costs associated with operating the Wireless segment include the costs to operate our customer care organization and administrative support. Wireless service revenue, costs to acquire subscribers, and variable network and interconnection costs fluctuate with the changes in our subscriber base and their related usage, but some cost elements do not fluctuate in the short term with these changes.
As shown by the table above under “Results of Operations,” Wireless segment earnings represented approximately 88% of our total consolidated segment earnings as of June 30, 2012. The wireless industry is subject to competition to retain and acquire subscribers of wireless services. Most markets in which we operate have high rates of penetration for wireless services. Wireless carriers accordingly must attract a greater proportion of new subscribers from competitors rather than from first time subscribers. Within the Wireless segment, postpaid wireless services represent the most significant contributors to earnings, and are driven by the number of postpaid subscribers to our services, as well as the average revenue per subscriber or user (ARPU). Wireless segment earnings have declined over the last several years, primarily resulting from subscriber losses associated with our Nextel platform postpaid offerings. To address and reduce net postpaid subscriber losses, we have taken initiatives to strengthen the Sprint brand and continue to increase market awareness of the improvements that have been achieved in the customer experience. We have also introduced new devices, including the iPhone® in the fourth quarter of 2011, improving our overall lineup and providing a competitive portfolio for customer selection, as well as competitive rate plans providing simplicity and value.
The Company has significantly improved net postpaid subscriber results on the Sprint platform subsequent to the first quarter 2009 as a result of the actions taken. In conjunction with Network Vision, the Company continues to focus on the growth of the Sprint platform while simultaneously targeting retention of Nextel platform subscribers through competitive offerings on the Sprint platform, which includes Sprint Direct Connect. As a result of our plans and increased competition for these subscribers, we expect that subscriber churn on the Nextel platform, both postpaid and prepaid, will increase as we progress toward the decommissioning of the Nextel platform. Although the Company continues to experience net losses of Nextel platform postpaid subscribers, beginning in 2010, wireless service revenue has increased primarily as a result of growth in subscribers from our prepaid business as well as increased postpaid ARPU and subscribers on the Sprint platform.
During 2011, the Company entered into a purchase commitment with Apple, Inc. to purchase a minimum number of smartphones which, on average, is expected to carry a higher subsidy per unit than other smartphones we sell. In addition, during 2012, we expect to make further progress on Network Vision, including the incurrence of certain costs associated with the ongoing decommissioning efforts of the Nextel platform. As a result, we expect that wireless segment earnings will decline in 2012 as compared to 2011 until we begin to see further increases in retail service revenue through improved total retail postpaid net additions sufficient to recover these increased equipment net subsidy and acquisition costs, and benefit from Network Vision through reduced network and operating costs.
The following table provides an overview of the results of operations of our Wireless segment for the three and six-month periods ended June 30, 2012 and 2011.