Sprint Nextel ( S) turned a half-billion-dollar profit in the third quarter, reversing a year-ago loss that reflected a big restructuring charge.

Excluding special items and the impact of purchase accounting related to the August merger of Sprint and Nextel, the company earned a pro forma 41 cents a share in this year's third quarter, beating the Thomson First Call estimate by 3 cents.

On an unadjusted basis, the company earned $516 million, or 23 cents a share, in the latest quarter, compared with a loss of $1.92 billion, or $1.32 a share, a year ago. The year-ago quarter, which doesn't reflect Nextel, included a $3.6 billion restructuring charge. Revenue rose 35% to $9.34 billion.

Adjusted to blend the two companies' results as if the merger occurred at the beginning of each period, Sprint Nextel earned $737 million, or 25 cents a share in the latest quarter, up from $462 million, or 16 cents a share, last year. The latest quarter included an expense totaling 16 cents related to extra amortization and depreciation related to a higher customer base.

Pro form consolidated revenue rose 8% from last year to $11.2 billion, about $300 million ahead of forecasts. Adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization was $3.67 billion, up 10%, while pro forma adjusted operating income was $1.32 billion, up 46%, reflecting a lower long-distance depreciation expense.

Within the company's wireless unit, pro forma revenue rose 12% in the third quarter from last year, accounting for 72% of the combined company's overall pro forma top line. Average revenue per user was $65 on a pro forma basis, while the company added a net 1.3 million pro forma subscribers, bringing the total to 45.6 million.

For all of 2005, Sprint Nextel expects revenue of $44 billion. It sees 1.4 million customer additions in the fourth quarter.

The stock added 10 cents, or 0.4%, to $23.75 ahead of the bell.