Sprint: iPhone has done 'very, very well for us'

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) said both new and existing customers are purchasing its iPhone, and that it continues to expect to report sales of at least 1 million iPhones in its fourth-quarter earnings report.

"We thought it would do very, very well for us, and it has," said Sprint CFO Joseph Euteneuer during a question-and-answer session this morning at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch investor conference.

Specifically, Euteneuer pointed to the new subscribers he said Sprint is gaining by offering the iPhone. "We're also getting real gross adds," he said. "I think that one of the reasons they're coming is that it's simplistic. It's one flat rate."

Sprint launched the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S Oct. 14, joining its larger rivals AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) in offering the device. Sprint is currently the only U.S. carrier offering the iPhone with unlimited data. The carrier has positioned Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) gadget as key to its turnaround, particularly in attracting and maintaining postpaid customers. Sprint has committed to paying Apple $15.5 billion over four years for the iPhone.

Interestingly, Euteneuer also addressed concerns that Sprint's network performance has suffered under the heavy data traffic generated by its new iPhone users.

"Some of it [criticisms of Sprint's network performance] wasn't as valid as people thought," Euteneuer said, adding that Sprint's network engineers worked to ensure the carrier's network could handle users' data demands. "We feel very confident that the performance going on out there with the iPhone is meeting people's expectations."

However, Euteneuer said that "there's been patches put in the phones and things like that," in order to continue to provide suitable iPhone data speeds. CNET earlier this week reported Sprint has spent the past several weeks deploying "network enhancements" intended to improve iPhone data speeds and customer experience--however, that report made no mention of a patch inside the Sprint iPhone.

When pressed for details on a possible "patch" in the Sprint iPhone, a Sprint representative acknowledged the carrier has made improvements to its network but made no mention of a patch to the device itself--possibily indicating Euteneuer misspoke.

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