Ina Fried

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Sprint Posts Loss, But Adds New Customers Ahead of Landing iPhone

Sprint on Wednesday reported a net loss, but said it added more than 1.3 million customers in the third quarter; it increased both its prepaid and traditional Sprint-brand customer base.

“Growth in Sprint brand net additions was achieved without the benefit of Apple’s iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, which launched Oct. 14,” Sprint said, adding that the iPhone should add to the company’s base and that “iPhone users are expected to be among Sprint’s most profitable customers.”

On the earnings front, Sprint reported a net loss of $301 million, or 10 cents per share, on revenue of $8.33 billion. That compares to a loss of $911 million, or 30 cents per share, on revenue of $8.15 billion in the year-ago quarter. The company also said it posted a positive $208 million in operating income, compared to a $213 million operating loss a year ago.

“We are adding to our customer base, our ARPU (average revenue per user) is increasing, and as a result our wireless revenues are growing,” CEO Dan Hesse said in a statement.

The company noted that it has expanded its credit line and changed some of its terms. Sprint also stressed that it has total liquidity of about $5 billion, including $4 billion in cash and investments. Its next debt maturity, some $2.3 billion worth, is slated for March.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work