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Sprint looks ready to play with the big boys, posts highest subscriber gain in three years

Sprint pleased investors with better-than-expected financial results this morning, indicating the fourth-largest carrier is on the track to recovery.

The company posted a net loss of 21 cents a share for the third quarter of the 2015 fiscal year, which is well above the 60-cent loss it suffered during the same quarter for the prior year. On top of that, the 21-cent loss beat analyst estimates of a 25-cent loss. Revenue, however, dropped to $8.11 billion for the quarter under review, from $8.97 billion for the same quarter for the preceding year.

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On the subscriber side, the carrier succeeded in adding 501,000 postpaid subscribers during the quarter. That’s the highest gain in three years. In addition, the customer turnover rate fell to 1.62 percent from 2.3 percent one year ago, which is the lowest ever for any third quarter.

The increase in customers could be from the 50-percent-off promotion, which kicked off last November. This gives customers from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon a chance to switch to Sprint and cut their current bill in half. The promotion was so popular that the carrier extended it through February 11.

And investors, for their part, were so delighted with today’s results that they pushed Sprint’s stock up 15 percent in pre-market trading.

While Sprint is doing well on the growth side, the carrier is also committed to curbing expenses. The firm will relocate its radio equipment to government-owned properties this summer, and it laid off 2,500 employees, mostly from customer care centers.

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All of this means a brighter financial future. Sprint upped its full-year operating income estimates to between $100 million and $300 million, which is up from the previous estimate of between $50 million and $250 million.