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Sprint sells 1.5 million iPhones, 1 million other smartphones, but makes a net loss of $767 million

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Sprint's latest financials show that while the network is slowly stemming the flow of cash from its veins, it's not quite there in terms of turning a profit. The country's third biggest carrier suffered a $767 million net loss and an operating loss of $231 million -- much less than the $629 million operating loss it had in Q2, but on-par with the $208 million lost in the same period last year. The business did manage to bring in total revenues of $8.8 billion, but had to take a hit on a $397 million write-down on costs related to Network Vision and the continued pain of the Nextel shutdown.

On the customer size, it added a further 900,000 users, sold 1.5 million iPhones and a further 1 million "LTE smartphones" in the quarter. Those with long memories will know that the company sold the same number of Apple handsets in the last two quarters, with around 40 percent going to new customers then as now. However, churn, the deadly enemy of all carriers, increased to 1.88 percent, up from 1.69 percent in Q2. The network did manage to coax 59 percent of former Nextel customers to stay tied up with Big Yellow, which may account for it selling nearly 1.2 million Direct Connect devices. While it's hardly a rosy estimation of Sprint's financial health, this report doesn't take into account Softbank's $20.1 billion buy-out or the regained controlling stake in Clearwire -- so we're expecting the next financial announcement to contain some more exciting news.

Update: During the conference call, Dan Hesse was asked about adopting a shared data plan to rival Verizon and AT&T, but unlike the last call, he was dismissive of the idea.

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