Sprint Beats, Boosted by iPhones

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Sprint ( S) beat Wall Street's top- and bottom-line estimates in its fourth-quarter results, boosted by demand for Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone.

The No. 3 U.S. carrier reported revenue of $9 billion, up from $8.7 billion in the prior year's quarter, and above analysts' estimates of $8.92 billion.

Sprint posted a loss of 44 cents a share, compared with 43 cents a share in the prior year's quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for a loss of 46 cents a share.

The company's shares, however, dipped 1.21% to $5.70 in premarket trading.

The Overland Park, Kan.-based firm enjoyed its best-ever quarter of iPhone sales, selling 2.2 million of the popular devices, 38% of which were sold to new customers. During 2012, Sprint sold more than 6.6 million iPhones, with 40% going to new customers. In total, Sprint sold almost 20 million smartphones in 2012.

Set against this backdrop, Sprint reported record quarterly wireless revenue of nearly $7 billion. The company's postpaid subscriber base grew for the eleventh consecutive quarter with net additions of 401,000, according to a statement released before market open.

"Sprint's strong performance was fueled by record wireless service revenue on the Sprint platform due to year-over-year postpaid ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) growth and Sprint platform net additions," said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, in the statement.

Sprint, which has been shutting down the older Nextel network as it pushes its Network Vision strategy forward, had a net loss of 243,000 wireless subscribers in the quarter.

Network Vision aims to consolidate multiple network technologies into one network, with the goal of boosting efficiency and network coverage, as well as call quality and data speeds.

The company's fourth-quarter numbers took a hit of $400 million, or 13 cents a share before tax, mainly related to Network Vision. This included "the expected shutdown of the Nextel platform" according to Sprint's statement, and, $45 million, or a penny a share before tax, related to Hurricane Sandy.

Japanese giant Softbank last year announced a deal to acquire a 70% stake in Sprint.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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