Last fall, Sprint was thrilled when it got the iPhone for the first time. Today, the nation’s third largest carrier could eventually find itself in bankruptcy court, according to BGR.

Facing “increased competition, growing debt and steep costs, with flops in Clearwire’s WiMAX technology, a failed LightSquared partnership and a risky $15.5 billion gamble on Apple’s iPhone further complicating its position,” Sprint may be forced to file for bankruptcy, according to Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett,

Unfortunately, Apple releasing a 4G LTE-enabled iPhone later this year, could actually hurt the company further, since rival networks offer that technology in more places.

Says Moffett, who downgraded Sprint shares to Underperform from Market-perform:

“To be clear, we are not predicting a Sprint bankruptcy. We are merely acknowledging that it is a very legitimate risk. And notwithstanding a recent rally in Sprint shares, we believe that risk is rising.”

Pacific Crest analyst Steve Clement is a little more optimistic, stating:

“The risk they could go bankrupt has gone up but that’s a very very low risk.”

In February, Sprint reported it was committed to buying a minimum of 24 million iPhones over the next few years. At the time, the company said it would purchase $15.5 billion in iPhones. In October, the company stated that it would need to purchase 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years just to remain competitive.

We’ll keep you updated on this story.