Did Sprint Bet On the Wrong Smartphone?

Sprint LogoAs lovely as the Pre (s palm) is, it’s no iPhone (s aapl), as Sprint’s (s S) third-quarter loss and the departure of 545,000 total subscribers proves. The nation’s third-largest wireless carrier, despite having an exclusive on the Pre, saw an exodus of 801,000 contract-holding customers in the latest three-month period, but offset that by adding 666,000 pre-paid subscribers. It now has a total of 48.3 million subscribers. Sprint is enlarging its prepaid business with an acquisition and competitive rate plans as a way to ensure that contract customers who leave for pre-paid plans still have a place in the Sprint family, but so far its bet on the Pre and pre-paid hasn’t pushed it back into the black.