Shares of Sprint Nextel Corp. closed almost 10 percent lower as the wireless carrier doubled its quarterly losses despite hundreds of thousands of new subscriber adds.
Buoyed by its unlimited voice and data plans, and by its lead as the first 4G service provider in the United States, Sprint lured 644,000 net new customers in the third quarter. That marked the second consecutive quarter of growth for Sprint.
But the company also posted losses of $911 million, compared to $478 million a year earlier, as it paid the price for handset subsidies and selling costs. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said, though, hed gladly endure those costs to keep growing.
Revenue, on the other hand, gave Sprint a boost. The company reported higher sales up 1.5 percent to $8.15 billion for the first time in more than three years. The prepaid division accounted for most of the increase. Sprint further added 280,000 wholesale and affiliate users.
Sprint, the nations third-largest mobile operator, is fighting for wireless market share as rivals AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless prepare to launch their own 4G networks. Those companies will offer LTE-based 4G service, while Sprint, via Clearwire, has WiMAX-based service. Sprint also was the first carrier in the U.S. to offer 4G handsets with the HTC EVO 4G and the Samsung Epic.
Sprints stock closed at $4.30, down 9.85 percent, as Wall Street expressed its disappointment with the carriers third-quarter performance.