Announcing its fourth quarter and annual 2012 financial results today, US operator Sprint became the latest operator to report increased sales of Apple’s iPhone, seeing its “best ever” quarter for the smartphone with 2.2 million units sold during the period.

The company said that 38 percent of iPhone sales were attributed to new customers, which helped sell more than 4 million 4G LTE smartphones, as it added 401,000 customers. That meant that Sprint recorded a total of 6.6 million iPhone sales during 2012, with the final quarter sales accounting for a third of its total sales.

This would have been helped by the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5 in September, helping it sustain smartphone sales into the holiday period. iPhone sales are up from 1.8 million iPhones in the same period a year ago, and 1.5 million iPhones and a further 1 million “LTE smartphones” in the third quarter.

While Sprint’s net operating revenue reached $35.3 billion (up 5 percent year-on-year), it saw a net loss of $1.3 billion, as it counted the impact from Hurricane Sandy.

In comparison to its US rivals, Sprint’s sales are some way off, but are improving. In their last financial quarters, Verizon saw a record 9.8 million smartphone activations (6.2 million of them iPhones), while AT&T saw 10.2 million smartphone sales, 8.6 million of them iPhones.

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