NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N) on Thursday posted a wider quarterly loss as it took hefty charges for the planned shutdown of its old Nextel network.
The No. 3 U.S. mobile service reported a loss of 246,000 subscribers in the quarter, compared with the average expectation of about 203,000 subscriber losses, according to five analysts contacted by Reuters.
The customer numbers included losses of 688,000 subscribers on the Nextel network, which Sprint bought in 2005. On top of the work Sprint is doing to shut down the older network, the company is spending billions of dollars to upgrade its own network.
Sprint, which committed to spend $15.5 billion on Apple Inc (AAPL.O) iPhones over the next few years, said that its iPhone sales had declined in the quarter.
The quarterly loss widened to $1.37 billion or 46 cents per share, from $847 million, or 28 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. The loss included a $782 million depreciation charge for the network decommissioning and an impairment cost related to the share price of its Clearwirel Corp CLWR.O venture.
Net operating revenue rose to $8.8 billion from $8.3 billion. Analysts expected $8.727 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sprint said it increased its target for 2012 adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization to a range of $4.5 billion to $4.6 billion from its previous target of $3.7 billion to $3.9 billion.
Sprint shares were largely unchanged in premarket trading after closing at $3.37 on New York Stock Exchange Wednesday.
Reporting By Sinead Carew; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Maureen Bavdek