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Sprint posts deeper loss on iPhone costs

NEW YORK - The iPhone helped Sprint (S) gain customers in the latest quarter, but also forced the carrier to post its largest loss in three years because of the high cost of the phone a network upgrade.

Sprint Nextel Corp., the No. 3 wireless carrier, says it lost $1.3 billion, or 43 cents per share, in the October to December period. That compares with a loss of $301 million, or 10 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time charges, the loss was 35 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet were on average expecting a loss of 38 cents per share, excluding items.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $8.7 billion, matching the analyst estimate.

Sprint started selling the iPhone in October, hoping it will help it keep and attract customers.