Updated from 7:41 a.m. EDT



posted a first-quarter profit Tuesday, boosted by strong subscriber gains at its wireless business, and boosted 2004 revenue guidance.

The company, which at the end of the week will fold back in the

Sprint PCS


wireless tracking stock, posted a 70% rise in adjusted combined net income on a 6% revenue gain. The wireless division led the growth: PCS added 972,000 customers, consisting of 414,000 net direct customer additions and 558,000 from wholesale and affiliate partners. PCS also added a million new Sprint PCS Vision data subscribers.

"In the first quarter, Sprint demonstrated the strength of our transformed business," said CEO Gary Forsee. "We have widened our industry lead in wireless data, we have aggressively added customers in DSL, and we added game-changing alliances that will help grow the scale of our operations and improve our customer experience."

For the first quarter ended March 31, Sprint's pro forma consolidated earnings per share from continuing operations in the first quarter of 2004 was 15 cents, compared to 7 cents per share in the first quarter of 2003. Before special items, Sprint's pro forma adjusted EPS was 17 cents vs. 10 cents in the year-ago period. Those figures are reached assuming the recombination of the tracking stocks occurred at the beginning of 2003 at the same conversion ratio.

On the bottom line, net income for the first quarter was $222 million. That's down from $1.67 billion for the same period last year, which included a gain of $1.31 billion from a discontinued operation and a cumulative effect of change in accounting of $258 million.

Revenue rose to $6.7 billion from $6.3 billion in the same period last year. Operating income was $714 million in the first quarter, compared with $604 million a year ago.

The company boosted its 2004 revenue-growth forecast to 3%-4% from the previous 2%-3%, while maintaining all other 2004 and 2005 guidance.

On Tuesday, Sprint added 40 cents to $19.38.