Sprint Loses Half-Million Subscribers, Adds 12,000

**Editor’s Note:

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for our look back at how some of the biggest names in telecommunications performed financially in Q4 2012.**

Sprint Nextel Corp. reported smaller first-quarter losses on Wednesday, compared to a year ago, but that news came at a price: the defection of 560,000 contract customers and the addition of just 12,000.

To that point, Sprint said losses narrowed from $863 million in 2012’s first quarter to $643 million in the first three months of this year. Revenue grew 0.6 percent to $8.79 billion. Wall Street analysts had projected revenue of $8.71 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

But the standout information in Sprint’s earnings was the more than half-million customer losses and the few additions. Sprint plans to shut down the legacy Nextel iDEN network by the end of the second quarter, which is impacting its subscriber numbers. Slow 3G data download speeds are another reason for the customer attrition, the company told analysts on Wednesday.

The activity comes as the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier faces competing merger proposals from Japan’s SoftBank and from DISH Network.


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