The holiday smartphone boost enjoyed by AT&T(s t) and Verizon(s vz)(s vod) was replicated at Sprint(s s). In the fourth quarter, the country’s third largest mobile operator sold 6.1 million smartphones, 2.1 million of which were iPhones(s aapl). But Sprint is also still feeling the pain of departing Nextel and Boost Mobile customers as it prepares to shut down its iDEN network completely in the second quarter.
Sprint lost 644,000 Nextel contract customers and 376,000 Boost customers, though Sprint was able to lure 521,000 of those departing subscribers over to its CDMA network. There are now 2.1 million iDEN customers remaining, which means Sprint has a rocky two quarters ahead before the network goes offline completely.
On the CDMA side of the house, Sprint added a net 401,000 contract customers and 525,000 prepaid customers, but the Nextel exodus still resulted in a net loss of 337,000 customers. Sprint now has a total 55.6 million mobile connections.
Sprint activated 2.2 million iPhones (as opposed to sales), which is just a quarter of the volume done by dominant iPhone distributor AT&T, but Sprint was able to use the device to lure in more customers. Of the 6.6 million iPhones sold in 2012, Sprint estimated that 40 percent were new customers, meaning Sprint isn’t just upgrading its existing subscribers to the iPhone. The carrier also said that it sold more Samsung Galaxy S III phones than any other carrier.
Sprint reported a loss of $1.32 billion in the fourth quarter off of revenues of $9 billion.