Mobile

Sprint losses defy Wall Street, its iPhone 4S launch is best ever

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Things may be shaping up for Sprint.

The third-place US carrier reported losses of $301 million for the third quarter on $8.3 billion in revenue, but that was about half of what Wall Street expected the company to lose.

Additionally, the company confirmed that the iPhone 4S launch on October 14 (which doesn’t count towards its third quarter), was its best ever day of sales.

Sprint added 1.3 million subscribers during the quarter, consisting of 485,000 prepaid subscribers and 304,000 more lucrative postpaid (contracted) customers. The company also reported wholesale and affiliate subscriptions of 835,000. Overall, Sprint had 53 million subscribers at the end of the quarter, 32.9 million of which were postpaid.

The carrier reported $6.8 billion in wireless revenue, up 7 percent from last year. Sprint says it now has $4 billion in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments on hand, along with $1 billion not yet drawn from its revolving bank credit facility.

Speaking about the iPhone 4S’s launch — the first iPhone launch on the carrier — CEO Dan Hesse said (as transcribed by ZDNet):

Our early results of selling the iPhone for an iPhone 4S have confirmed the iPhone’s ability to attract new customers. What one hopes to see from the device is a high percentage of gross adds, new customers and the revenue to Sprint. The time we have been selling this device is very short, the early results indicate the iPhone is breaking the previous Sprint record held by the Evo in terms of percentage of device buyers who are gross adds or new to Sprint in the weeks following the launch.

We believe two weeks in the March is not enough time to constantly estimate gross add percentages but we plan to provide you with the estimate after the full fourth-quarter results are in. But, early indications are extremely encouraging.