Sprint Cuts Quarterly Losses, Bets On iPhone For Subscriber Uptick

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Sprint Nextel, the no. 3 carrier in the United States, reported its quarterly earnings today, and they’re quite solid. In Q3 2011, the company generated consolidated net operating revenues of $8.3 billion, up from $8.15 billion in the same period last year and relatively flat compared to Q2 2011.

The company booked a quarterly loss of $301 million (or 10 cents per share), roughly a third the loss it reported in the same quarter a year ago ($911 million).

For the quarter, Sprint added nearly 1.3 million net wireless customers but notably lost roughly 44,000 net postpaid subscribers, more than analysts had expected.

The company in a statement posits that the decline of subscribers under contract is “likely due to customer expectations of a fourth quarter iPhone launch”.

Sprint Nextel also said that the response to the introduction of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, which launched October 14, surpassed its initial expectations both with current and new customers.

From the quarterly earnings report (emphasis ours):

Growth in Sprint brand net additions was achieved without the benefit of Apple’s iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, which launched Oct. 14. The launch of this iconic device resulted in Sprint’s best ever day of sales in retail, web and telesales for a device family in Sprint history.

The response to this device by current and new customers has surpassed initial expectations. The iPhone is expected to be accretive for Sprint, and iPhone users are expected to be among Sprint’s most profitable customers.

All eyes on Sprint’s next quarterly earnings report.