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Sprint postpaid subscriber loss lower than expected

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Sprint store in New York City, U.S., April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) - Sprint Corp S.N on Monday reported a lower-than-expected drop in quarterly mobile phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill as it ramps up its 5G coverage in the United States.

The company said it lost 91,000 postpaid phone subscribers in the second quarter. Analysts were expecting a net loss of 145,000 subscribers, according to research firm FactSet.

Sprint, the fourth largest wireless carrier by subscribers, has been aggressive in its 5G push, offering the faster mobile technology in nine cities and bundling it with media content like Hulu and Inc's AMZN.O Prime.

The company, which has been struggling to close its $26 billion-merger with T-Mobile TMUS.O due to legal hurdles, said total net operating revenue fell to $7.8 billion (£6.04 billion) from $8.43 billion. Analysts had expected revenue of $8.17 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net loss attributable to the company was $274 million, or 7 cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a net income of $196 million, or 5 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts were expecting a loss of 2 cents per share.

Shares of the company were up nearly 2% at $6.40 in trading before the bell.

Reporting by Neha Malara in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva