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Sprint sold 1.5M iPhones in Q1 2012, 44% to new customers

Sprint on Wednesday announced its own quarterly earnings, revealing that it sold 1.5 million iPhones last quarter, with 44 percent of those going to new customers.

In all, Sprint added nearly 1.1 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2012. That means the 660,000 new customers brought by the iPhone accounted for about 60 percent of the new subscribers Sprint added in the three-month span.

The total number of subscribers on Sprint is now 56 million, as the carrier is the third-largest in the U.S., behind AT&T and Verizon. Both of the leading carriers also offer Apple's iPhone, as AT&T announced on Tuesday that it activated 4.3 million iPhones last quarter, while Verizon revealed last week that it activated 3.2 million iPhones to start 2012.

Combined, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon accounted for about 9 million total U.S. iPhone sales during the quarter. Apple announced in its own quarterly earnings report on Tuesday that it sold 35.1 million iPhones worldwide during the three-month span, representing 88 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter.

While the iPhone helped Sprint add most of its new subscribers in the quarter, the company still posted an operating loss of $255 million. Still, the company saw its best-ever platform postpaid average revenue per unit increase $4.03, or 6.9 percent.

"The continuing revenue growth on the Sprint platform, which represents the future of our company, driven by record ARPU improvement and strong net subscriber growth, contributed to our Adjusted OIBDA performance of $1.2 billion," said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO. "The value and simplicity of our unlimited data, talk and text plans, combined with an unsurpassed customer experience and our increasingly robust device portfolio make for a strong combination."

Sprint expects to launch its own 4G LTE network in six major cities by the middle of 2012, including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Baltimore. The company offers two 4G LTE smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and LG Viper, and will add the HTC EVO 4G LTE to the mix in the near future.