Sprint-Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S), the No. 3 U.S. communications company, reported a third-quarter loss below estimates but also said it had lost about 456,000 mobile subscribers.
Sprint’s net loss more than doubled to $767 million, or 26 cents a share, from $301 million, or 10 cents a year ago. Revenue increased about 5 percent to $8.76 billion. The net loss was far below the expected 43 cents a share.
Shares of the Overland Park, Kan., carrier which has agreed to sell a 70-percent interest to Japan’s SoftBank Corp. (Tokyo: 9984) rose 1.5 percent to $5.70, up 8 cents, close to the final SoftBank offer price of $5.75. This week, Sprint received $3.1 billion from its Japanese partner through a convertible bond sale, the first part of the deal.
“The Sprint platform performed well,” said CEO Dan Hesse, who predicted the carrier will exceed fourth-quarter estimates, too.
Sprint, which acquired Nextel Corp. in 2006 in disastrous $33.8 billion deal, plans to shutter the Nextel network next quarter.
As a result, some Nextel subscribers left without switching to Sprint accounts. That left total subscribers around 56 million, compared with nearly 106 million for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), the No. 1 telecommunications carrier, and 95.9 for the Verizon Wireless unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), the No. 2 U.S. carrier.
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