UPDATE 1-Sprint profit beats on strong wireless growth

(Adds details, recasts lead, adds analyst estimates)

Aug 1 (Reuters) - Sprint Corp on Wednesday topped analysts' estimates for quarterly profit, helped by surprise growth in wireless subscribers in a tightly contested phone market.

Sprint said total wireless net additions in the first quarter were 57,000, compared with a loss of 28,000 estimated by analysts, according to market research firm FactSet.

Shares of the Kansas-based company, which have fallen 9.8 percent this year, rose 2.6 percent to $5.57 before the bell.

Net income fell to $173 million, or 4 cents per share, in the three months ended June 30, compared with $206 million, or 5 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts expected the company to break even on a per-share basis, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

In a bid to become the first company to bring 5G technology to major U.S. cities, Sprint has been targeting a first half 2019 launch in at least eight cities, including New York City and Kansas City.

The company is in the process of being acquired by larger rival T-Mobile U.S. Inc in an all-stock $26 billion deal.

Sprint reported quarterly net additions of 87,000 phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill, more than double the analyst estimate of 40,000 additions.

Total operating revenue fell to $8.13 billion from $8.16 billion a year earlier. (Reporting by Shariq Khan and Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)