Sprint, our nation’s second favorite how-are-they-still-around wireless carrier, had a good quarter:

CEO Dan Hesse said in his call this morning that this was the first quarter Sprint became a net gainer of subs from its rivals rather than a leaker to them.

What changed:

Sprint activated 1.5 million iPhones in the quarter, pretty much in line with expectations. Some 40% of the new iPhone activations were new customers to Sprint, and these come with lower churn and support costs than other handsets it sells. Sprint boasted more new customers coming via the iPhone than AT&T and Verizon had…

Hesse bet big on the iPhone, believing it would be the key to staving off his company’s accelerating decline and irrelevance. While it’s too early to say it was the right move, so far, so good.