US Sprint Communications’ task of clawing its way out of debt and into profitability will not be helped by its own track record on punctual billing, the company has admitted. William Esrey, president of United Telecommunications Inc, 50-50 shareholder with GTE Corp in US Sprint, said that reducing losses further depended on better management of bad debts stemming from massive billing problems at the telecomms joint venture. US Sprint recorded a pre-tax loss of $1,150m, for 1987 but said then it expected to break even by the beginning of 1989. This looks increasingly unlikely as officials have admitted that billing difficulties are taking longer to solve than anticipated. Because the company has billed customers so late in the past, executives cannot rely on customers paying on time now (well, would you?). We’ve never had the billing system running on time so we don’t know what the experience will be, commented co-owner GTE Corp.