Sprint is the only of the Big Four wireless carriers that has truly unlimited data plans, with no throttling if the user passes a threshold or if there is network congestion in the area.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that the unlimited plan + the iPhone is a major attraction for users. "Frankly, it's a marriage made in heaven. We're clearly attracting customers from our competitors."
It may be attracting customers, but not enough to earn a profit.
Sprint released its Q1 2012 earnings report earlier on Wednesday. The company posted a wider loss than the same period in 2011, $863 million, or 29 cents per share, vs. $439 million.
Sprint noted, however, that without including accelerated depreciation due to its planned shutdown of Nextel, its operating loss was $255 million.
On the positive side of things, Sprint managed a 7 percent year-over-year gain in revenue, to $7.2 billion. It activated 1.5 million iPhones in the period, with 44 percent of them new customers.
Hesse said he was unsure if the iPhone 5 would be LTE-capable, although most believe it will be. He also said he didn't know when the next generation iPhone would be released (but really, even if he did he would be sworn to secrecy by Apple).
However, Hesse did add that he believed that if the next iPhone was LTE-capable, all of the U.S. carriers would have that functionality on their version of the device. "Our expectation is that we will all get the same device at the same time," he said.
That points to a release of the iPhone along the lines of a year after the iPhone 4S release, which was in Oct. 2011. Some have believed Apple would pull in the iPhone 5 release to summer, where it had been before, but Sprint's LTE network does not launch until mid-year.