Sprint’s defense of market share comes at a price


Sprint Nextel’s [fortune-stock symbol=”S”] strategy of slashing prices to keep defend its number three position among U.S. cellphone networks appears to be paying off–albeit at a price.

The company said Tuesday its revenue fell 6.7% and its net loss widened to $224 million (from $151 million a year earlier) in the three months to March, as its scrap T-Mobile [fortune-stock symbol=”TMUS”], even though it reported its best figures for new users in nearly three years.

The two have been engaged in a full-on price war since a mooted merger between them fell apart last year. The impact of that was clear as average revenue per user slid 3.3% from the previous quarter to $56.72. A year ago, Sprint was getting $62.98 a month from its average customer.

Operating income was $318 million, down by a quarter from a year earlier.

Sprint said it had gained a net 211,000 in ‘postpaid’…

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