Here’s some great news out of the Sprint camp. In Q2 of 2010, Sprint added (yes, added) 111,000 postpaid subscribers to its CDMA network and had the lowest churn rate in company history, 1.85% for the quarter. This is the first time in three years that Sprint had positive net wireless subscriber growth. The company did post a net loss of $760 million or $0.25 per share. Dan Hesse, Sprint Nextel’s CEO, had this to say: “Our intense focus for the past ten quarters on improving the customer experience, strengthening our brands, and generating cash are paying off. With strong cash flow, stable OIBDA and widespread third-party recognition for the improvements we’re making in the customer experience, which in turn strengthens our brands, we feel we can confidently improve our subscriber forecasts for the second half of 2010 and deliver positive total net wireless subscriber additions for the remainder of the year.” Sprint also reminded you that their 4G service will be rolling out to eight new markets during Q3, including: Boston, Kansas City, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Nice work Sprint. More →
Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse sat down with the Financial Times and re-confirmed the wireless provider’s option to pursue LTE if and when the time is right. According to Hesse, Sprint and Clearwire are in the enviable position of having access to ample 4G spectrum that is able to support LTE on top of the current WiMAX network. This over-abundance of 4G spectrum, and the possibility of deploying LTE, is causing analysts to re-consider the potential for a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. Rumors of a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile surfaced in 2008 but the talks reportedly stalled because the two companies use two very different and incompatible wireless technologies (*cough*Nextel*cough). If both carriers adopt LTE, a merger is more likely as Sprint would receive a boost from T-Mobile’s 33 million subscribers and T-Mobile would gain much needed access to 4G spectrum. Hesse acknowledged that there was a “logic” to the merger but failed to comment on the possibility that the two wireless providers are in discussions.
While speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse was quoted as saying, “we thought we would have more of a head start than we’ll end up having.” The CEO was referring to his company’s first-to-market 4G strategy, and more specifically about their industry first 3G/4G hybrid phone; the HTC EVO 4G. Currently, the device is listed as “delayed,” and does not have a potential shipping date on Sprint’s website. Sprint has yet to release official sales figures for the handset, but analyst firm Macquarie Group is estimating that around 300,000 EVOs have been sold and that demand is still high. HTC, the manufacturer of the device, is citing part shortages from third-party vendors as the root cause of the delays. HTC has said that they have signed several different contracts with other vendors (including Sony) to provide LCD screens and other parts for future handsets in an attempt to prevent delays. Anyone out there trying to get an HTC EVO without success? More →
We just got back from Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G event in NYC, and besides messing around with the device and seeing it for the second time first hand, we finally got a release date and price. As reported earlier, you’ll be able to get Android’s finest for $199 with a new two year agreement on June 4th. To recap the new data pricing, Sprint’s adding a $10 “4G” add-on feature to their $69.99 unlimited voice, data, and SMS package. Tethering (mobile hotspot) will run you an additional $29.99 monthly. All in, it tops out at $109.98 — still a pretty good deal if you think about it, especially considering the handset will support up to 8 simultaneous devices and even better, there’s no bandwidth cap at all. Check out our awesome gallery from the event complete with some HTC EVO 4G hotness sprinkled in.
There are a series of recent events and announcements that could lead one to believe that Sprint, LG and Microsoft are working together to announce something big. Sprint has been planning a big show for CES on January 6 and calling it the “must-attend” event of the entire exhibit, and announcements will be made by Dan Hesse and Steve Ballmer. There is little need to second guess what is in store for the announcement if Ballmer and Hesse are taking the stage together.
For the following evening, Sprint and LG have been separately sending out invites to the same event, so it’s very likely the two are working together on a new device. This shindig is also going to be hosted by Brooke Shields. Throw in the announcement from the night before, Sprint’s aggressive plans to launch WiMax-enabled devices, and we have the makings of a Windows Mobile WiMax device on Sprint’s network. None of this is written in stone, but what else could it possibly be? More →
Sprint seems to keep bleeding, keep, keep, bleeding subscribers. After losing 801,000 post-paid subscribers, which is slightly better than the 870,000 that analysts expected, Sprint might need to really change its game to do more than just stay afloat. Consequently, Sprint’s losses for the quarter are a whopping $478 million compared to $326 million YoY. Revenue dropped about nine percent to $8.04 billion. Interestingly enough, Sprint’s prepaid service, Boost, added over 600,000 subscribers thanks to Boost’s $50 unlimited plan. But with its Simply Everything packages including Any Mobile, Any Time, and hardware like the Palm Pre and HTC Hero, Sprint could be looking to shrink its quarterly losses in the future and maybe even see some positive gain.
Sprint subscribers might be feeling somewhat slighted thanks to the carrier’s poor showing in this morning’s exclusive, but don’t fret. Thanks to an alleged leaked Sprint document, it looks like the HTC Touch Pro2 and Samsung Dash, or Instinct s50 (official successor to the Instinct), are slated to be released on September 3rd. There’s no shortage of info and pics of the Touch Pro2, which will be available on each of the four major US carriers, but the s50 has yet to be seen — officially or unofficially. Could this be the AMOLED device headed to Sprint that everyone’s been hootin’ and hollerin’ about? Is it possible that the device will also be sporting Android in light of CEO Dan Hesse’s announcement that Sprint is finally ready for the matured OS? We’ll know in less than a month, but we’re guessing (and hoping) that the distinguished honor of being Sprint’s first Android-powered handset is reserved for the HTC Hero.
The back and forth continues. Following Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam’s comment that the Pre would be hitting VZW shelves “over the next six months or so”, Sprint issued a brief official statement confirming that its Pre exclusivity runs through the end of 2009, at least. While specifics of the exclusivity deal remain a mystery for the time being, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has just elaborated on the situation a bit. According to Cnet, Hesse stated the following at a press event with regard to McAdam’s Pre comment:
They need to check their facts. That just is not the case. Both Palm and Sprint have agreed not to discuss the length of the exclusivity deal. But I can tell you it’s not six months.
So, Verizon customers, it looks like you have a bit more waiting than anticipated before you can get your webOS on — at least where the Pre is concerned.
And so it begins. Not even 24 hours after the Palm Pre announcement, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse assumed the roll of Buzz Killington when he explained Sprint’s lack of high-visibility Pre advertising to investors. According to Hesse, Sprint “didn’t intend to advertise [the Pre] heavily early on because we think we are going to have shortages for a while” and that it “won’t be able to keep up with demand for the device in the early period of time.” Okay, so let’s get this straight. Sprint didn’t heavily advertise the Palm Pre — the handset that is supposed to turn things around for the company — because Hesse & Co. are afraid of pissing people off if they might have to wait a few weeks for their phones to arrive? Hesse, buddy, shortages can often be an amazing way to pique the general public’s interest. It worked with the first iPhone, it worked with the Storm and it sure as hell worked with the Wii. It won’t work for the Pre however, if no one knows the handset exists. Ugh.
Just a few weeks ago, Sprint announced it would have details on how it’s dealing with early termination fees by December once its billing software was updated. It looks like Dan Hesse and his boys have been working on provisions really quickly! As of November 2, Sprint’s early termination fees will begin to decrease by $10 per month after the sixth month of service. However, this policy only applies to those who sign new contracts after November 2. If you signed up recently or are an existing customer and feeling a little jilted, all you have to do is renew your contract after November 2 and you will also qualify for the new ETF policy. This is probably a better idea for those who signed up recently rather than those who are nearing the end of their term, obviously. Just a few years ago, we never would have thought that ETFs would ever be prorated, but it looks like you can never overlook the power of lawsuits and hefty settlements!
After being sued this past summer along with Verizon for early termination fees, Sprint has finally decided to prorate them or make a tiered ETF policy. Much like other carriers, the initial fee goes down in cost as your contract matures. Pretty smart move after losing about $73 million in settlement fees for the class action lawsuit filed against Sprint in California. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse says that its ETF will be lowered as soon as December when “billing software” is updated and ready. As we all know, the reason for ETFs is the carriers say it helps recover cost of subsidized devices. That’s kinda true, but what if you’re already a year or more into your contract and you have to pay $200 to bail out? Making a tiered system is a better idea. Sprint is late to the party but better than never.
One would think that a company struggling and bleeding customers like Sprint would have executives bleeding themselves. Not so. Even after their obvious hardship to stay competitive, the fines and fees they’ve paid out for various reasons, like settling on litigation against ETFs, Sprint/Nextel executives are tops when it comes to compensation. It’s not a surprise that corporate bigwigs are still getting paid despite poor performance, but it does irk a few consumers. According to Standard & Poor’s index of large companies, Sprint had the worst pay-for-performance in 2007 — imagine that. Sprint spokesperson James Fisher said “It’s very important to consider that 2007 was a highly unusual year because of compensation that was paid to an exiting CEO, as well as sign-on compensation paid to a new CEO,” and continued their defense, “We had significant other severance charges for executive changes during the year.” Whatever dude.
Of course, there is a new CEO in Dan Hesse, a man who prides Sprint in the fact that consumers can e-mail him “directly” with questions and concerns. Hesse replaced Gary Forsee (We wonder if Forsee foresaw his own demise) who received $22.4 million in total compensation last year… got to love severance packages. Another $74 million went to the rest of the top management team. This kind of corporate behavior, amongst other things, is part of the reason we’re struggling and resorting to multi-billion-dollar bailouts.