(Associated Press via NewsEdge) US wireless giant Sprint Nextel said it swung to a first-quarter loss as investments in operations wiped out modest gains in sales.
For the January-March quarter, the company reported losing $211 million versus $417 million a year ago.
Excluding one-time amortization charges, Sprint Nextel said it earned $0.18 per share, well below the $0.22 per share expected by analysts polled by Thomson Financial.
Revenues for the quarter rose slightly to $10.1 billion from $10.07 billion a year ago. Analysts had expected $10.31 billion in sales.
The company reiterated its expectation of annual revenues between $41 billion and $42 billion.
Analysts predict sales of $41.4 billion and 2007 earnings of $0.90 per share.
Gary Forsee, the company's CEO and chairman, said the company spent a lot of money during the quarter trying to alleviate technological and signal problems.
'These increased commitments, along with notably higher device subsidies to drive acquisition and retention, impacted our profitability in the quarter,' Forsee said in a release.
Sprint Nextel said it gained a net of 600,000 new wireless subscribers during the quarter, ending at 53.6 million. But it lost 220,000 high-quality customers who pay their bills at the end of the month and typically spend more.
It was the third straight quarter of losing postpaid customers, most of them former Nextel Communication Inc. customers who have been frustrated by poor signal quality and other problems since the company was acquired by Sprint in 2005.
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