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Sprint loses fewer-than-expected, direct dial telephone, subscribers, shares soar

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a Sprint store in New York City, USA-April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) – Sprint Corp’s (S. N) on Friday reported lower-than-expected loss in quarterly net phone customers who pay a monthly bill, such as the U.S. provider of wireless service is less expensive than the plans, and contributed to the retention of customers, and in the midst of the upcoming merger with larger rival T-Mobile US (TMUS.D).

The company said it lost a net 128,000 phone customers in the first quarter of the year. Analysts had expected a net loss of more than 150,000 subscribers, according to research firm FactSet.

This has helped the company to post a smaller-than-expected loss and beat Wall Street’s estimates for revenue, sending its shares up 2.4% in trading before the bell.

“the business continues to face a number of structural headwinds, and I continue to be convinced that a merger with T-Mobile is the best for our customers, our employees, the business community and all other interested parties,” Sprint’s Chief Executive Officer Michel Combes said.

Sprint and T-Mobile, the No. 4 and No. 3 U.S. wireless carriers, respectively, behind AT&T (T. N) and Verizon Communications (VZ.(N) are in the process of merging with each other.

Sprint’s earnings announcement comes about a week after the U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to a $26 billion merger with T-Mobile.

As part of the approval of T-Mobile has agreed to divest Sprint prepaid companies, including boost Mobile and other assets to Dish Network Corp’s (DISH.(O) for the construction of a viable fourth carrier in a few years.

Sprint reported a net loss attributable to owners of the company of $111 million, or 3 cents a share, in the quarter ended June 30, compared with a net income of $176 million, or 4 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected a loss of 4 cents, according to IBES data, Refinitiv. Total net revenue rose to $8.14 billion from $8.13 billion, above estimates of $8.06 billion.

Reporting Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by shailesh Kuber

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