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Sprint CEO: Customers come for discounts, stay for the network

The carrier's aggressive promotions are winning over new customers, and its improved network is apparently keeping them happy.

Sprint added 347,000 net new customers in its most recent quarter.

CNET

Sprint's turnaround is in full swing as the company added hundreds of thousands of new customers in its fiscal second quarter and marked the best customer retention in its history.

The company, which released preliminary financial results last week, offered no big surprises when it made public its full financial results on Tuesday. The good news for the quarter is that the company added 347,000 net new customers, which is twice the number of its first quarter and more than five times its growth from a year ago. The company also cut its losses to $142 million compared with a year-ago loss of $585 million. Its second quarter ended September 30.

The company said it had a loss of 4 cents per share on revenue of $8.25 billion. The results are a sign that the company's aggressive marketing plans, which promise to halve customers' bills, are working to entice people to ditch their existing service. But apparently thanks to its improved network, Sprint is also doing a better job at retaining its postpaid customers, or those who pay at the end of the month and are considered the most valuable because they tend to stick around longer. The company reported its postpaid "churn," or the rate at which those customers ditch its service, was 1.37 percent. That's the lowest level in the company's history.

"Customers are coming by the hundreds of thousands from AT&T and Verizon and they're finding really good service," CEO Marcelo Claure said Tuesday on a conference call. "In many cases they're surprised that our service is the same or better than Verizon's."

That said, the results also show the company is still playing catch-up to its closest rival, T-Mobile.

While AT&T and Verizon posted net losses of postpaid customers in the most recent quarter, Sprint along with rival T-Mobile added these customers. Specifically, AT&T reported it lost 289,000 customers, and Verizon said it lost 36,000 customers. Meanwhile, T-Mobile said it added a net 851,000 of these customers.

Shares of Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint were trading down about 3 percent at $6.70 on Tuesday morning.