Sprint Nextel is expected to release its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2011 later today, and it appears that numbers are even worse than they were during the previous quarter.

For the three months that ended on December 31st, Sprint lost $1.3 billion on revenue of $8.7 billion. That compares to a loss of $929 million on revenue of $8.3 billion for the same quarter the previous year.

Everything isn’t that bad for Sprint though. The company managed to sell 1.8 million iPhones, of which 40% were new customers..

Sprint saw an addition of 1.6 million subscribers during the fourth quarter, which actually is the best they’ve had in 6 years. The iPhone represented 720,000 of those new customers, or 45%.

Spring CEO Dan Hesse said:

Our strong fourth quarter performance illustrates the power of matching iconic devices like the iPhone with our simple, unlimited plans and industry-leading customer experience. During the past year, Sprint added more than 5 million net new customers and grew wireless service revenue by more than 5 percent, including 17 percent for the Sprint platform. This momentum gives us confidence as we execute our Network Vision upgrade and 4G LTE roll-out.

Last month, AT&T reported 1.6 million iPhone activations, while Verizon activated 4.2 million iPhones during the same quarter.