Sprint Nextel adds users

SPRINT Nextel added mobile subscribers for the first quarter in more than three years, sending its shares up five per cent.

The Number Three US mobile service added 58,000 subscribers in the quarter, ahead of the average expectation for almost 17,000 customer additions from analysts.

While the customer number was tiny compared with growth at bigger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T, it marked a milestone for Sprint, which last reported contract customer growth in the second quarter of 2007.

While several analysts expect Sprint to revert to a customer loss again this quarter, they applauded its promise to report subscriber additions for the full year 2011, which would mark the first full year of growth since 2006.