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Sprint earnings report Thursday will shed light on customer count

Sprint Nextel Corp. is riding high on its pending buyout by a Japanese company. But its latest customer count and financial results, due Thursday, will offer a bit of a reality check./ppTheyre sure to show just how big of a job lies ahead for Sprint and its expected new owner, SoftBank Corp. Both are bent on turning this nations lagging No. 3 carrier into a strong challenger to Verizon Wireless and ATT Inc./ppA key number in Sprints third-quarter earnings report Thursday will show whether the company is doing a better job adding customers./ppAnalysts, however, expect that Sprint will post little growth from the 56.4 million subscribers the Overland Park-based wireless phone company had at the end of June./ppOne sign of that was last weeks report from No. 1 Verizon, which has more than 100 million subscribers. It added 1.76 million new retail

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