Last week, Sprint (NYSE: S) released earnings, and the story was the same as usual: high cash flow while customers slowly bled away. To be fair, Sprint showed a net gain in subscribers. However, valuable contract customers keep slipping away, and the company has to make up for it by adding more fickle prepaid subscribers that pay month to month. Sprint still lost 228,000 contract subscribers during the quarter.

In this video, analyst Eric Bleeker talks about Sprint's efforts to stem the tide. While Sprint did report its best customer quarter in some time, it also comes at a time when both Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T (NYSE: T) reported extremely strong quarters themselves. Expensive data plans are boosting industry profitability across the board.

However, Bleeker is still weary of Sprint as a long-term investment. The company's acquisition of Nextel is a textbook case of acquisitions gone awry. Incompatible technologies led to extremely high integration costs, and Sprint struggled to get Nextel under its wings. Likewise, while partner Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR) has launched its national 4G network, Sprint has seen the value of its Clearwire stake drop precipitously in the past couple of years. Now we have reports that Sprint and T-Mobile might be looking at some kind of merger or agreement on working together on a next generation LTE network.

Bleeker is afraid of that kind of deal. While those in favor of the deal might point to added scale to compete with AT&T and Verizon, network incompatibility will once again create headaches. Not that there's opportunity lacking from such an arrangement if done right, but Bleeker fears the two desperate operators might make an arrangement that further destroys value for Sprint shareholders.

Sprint has valuable assets, no doubt, but the company also has a high debt load and is desperate to make moves in the mobile marketplace. As the company keeps looking at splashy ways to stem the tide of Verizon and AT&T's growth, there's more of a chance its lofty cash flows will be wasted on acquisitions or mergers. Bleeker understands the value proposition with Sprint, but until its future plans with LTE are settled, he's staying away.

To hear Bleeker's full thoughts on the subject, view the video below:

Eric Bleeker owns shares of no companies listed above. Sprint Nextel is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.