Oct 25 (Reuters) - Sprint Nextel Corp posted a wider third-quarter loss on Thursday as it spent heavily on a network upgrade and lost customers from its iDen network, which it is shutting down.
Sprint posted a loss of $767 million, or 26 cents per share, compared with a loss of $301 million, or 10 cents, in the third quarter a year ago. Sprint has agreed to sell a controlling stake to Japan's Softbank Corp for $20 billion.
Net operating revenue rose to $8.76 billion from $8.33 billion a year ago. Wall Street expected $8.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sprint said it lost 465,000 subscribers in the quarter, compared with the average expectation for losses of 361,000, according to five analysts contacted by Reuters.
Sprint said 2012 adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization will slightly exceed the high end of its $4.5 billion to $4.6 billion target range.
It kept its earlier target for full-year consolidated net service revenue growth of 4 percent to 6 percent. It expects full-year capital spending of less than $6 billion in 2012, excluding capitalized interest.
Sprint shares rose to $5.70 in early trade after closing at $5.62 on New York Stock Exchange Wednesday. The stock has risen more than 11 percent since Oct. 10, just before Sprint said it was in talks with Softbank.