Sprint Tops Estimates, Yet Subscriber Exodus Continues

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Sprint Nextel, which is seeking to sell 70 percent of its shares to Japan's SoftBank, posted higher fourth-quarter revenue even as it lost subscribers due to the wind-down of its older Nextel network.

Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. mobile service provider, said on Thursday it had a net loss of 243,000 subscribers in the quarter, compared with the average expectation for a loss of 292,000 from five analysts contacted by Reuters.

It added 401,000 customers to the Sprint network, including 333,000 customers that moved from Nextel.

Talking Numbers: Buy Sprint or Verizon?
Talking Numbers: Buy Sprint or Verizon?

It posted a quarterly loss of $1.32 billion, or 44 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.30 billion, or 43 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose to $9.01 billion from $8.72 billion. Wall Street expected $8.92 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sprint, which is spending heavily on upgrading its network this year, forecast 2013 adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization in a range of $5.2 billion to $5.5 billion.

Its shares were largely unchanged in early trade after closing at $5.77 on the New York Stock Exchange.