According to a report from The Wall Street Journal late last week, Sprint is considering a bid to acquire T-Mobile US sometime in the first half of 2014. Now, in a followup report published on Thursday evening, The Journal noted that at least six banks are currently working on proposals to provide financing for the deal. According to the report, Masayoshi Son, chairman of Sprint majority owner SoftBank, was in New York City this week meeting with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. WSJ was not able to confirm that financing a possible T-Mobile bid was the topic of discussion, however. While the report notes that the banks may submit their financing offers to Sprint by sometime in January, Sprint has apparently not yet decided whether or not it will bid. The Journal suggests that if it does, however, a deal to acquire T-Mobile US could be worth more than $20 billion.
If Sprint had proposed buying T-Mobile at around this time last year, my reaction would probably have been, “Sure, why not?” After all, neither carrier had been doing well for years and neither of them were providing an especially effective counterweight to the AT&T-Verizon machine, so American wireless customers probably had nothing to lose from the two joining up. However, something happened this year that has made me seriously doubt whether a Sprint-T-Mobile merger would be good for wireless consumers: Namely, T-Mobile started being a serious force for disruption in an industry that’s badly needed it. More →
When Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that 2014 was his company’s time to make waves, he wasn’t kidding. The Wall Street Journal reports that Sprint is preparing to make a bid to buy off T-Mobile from parent company Deutsche Telekom in the first half of 2014. The Journal’s sources say that Sprint’s proposed deal “could be worth more than $20 billion, depending on the size of any stake in T-Mobile that Sprint tries to buy.” If Sprint were to successfully acquire T-Mobile it would leave the United States with just three nationwide wireless carriers. It will be very interesting to see how the government’s antitrust regulators react to any such proposal since they handily killed off the AT&T-T-Mobile merger back in 2011. A combined Sprint and T-Mobile would have an estimated 53 million postpaid subscribers, which would still be substantially fewer the subscribers held by AT&T and Verizon.
Beneath Verizon and AT&T’s duopoly lies a pair of scrappy U.S. wireless carriers that have struggled for years to gain ground against the two giants. For a period of time, Sprint looked like it was making headway thanks to its smartphone-friendly service plans that offered unlimited voice calling, messaging and data while Verizon and AT&T were busy implementing data caps. While its service plans were indeed attractive, Sprint’s smartphone initiatives didn’t translate into big subscriber gains. Then, the “Uncarrier” campaign began and T-Mobile became the most important carrier in America. Don’t count Sprint out just yet, however, because CEO Dan Hesse says things are about to turn around. More →
Things have been going poorly for Sprint for many, many years and now it appears that the company is going backward in terms of customer satisfaction. The latest Consumer Reports survey of more than 58,000 American wireless subscribers places Sprint dead last in customer satisfaction after the carrier received “dismal” ratings for pricing and network reliability. This marks a big setback for Sprint, which last year trailed only Verizon in overall customer satisfaction. There was some hope that Sprint would see a revival after being acquired by Japanese mobile company SoftBank but the carrier has remained largely rudderless as rival T-Mobile has made aggressive moves to position itself as America’s value carrier. Consumer Reports’ press release follows below. More →
Bigger is better in the smartphone market these days and while HTC is very late to game in the supersized phablet category, its first offering appears to be a relatively strong one. The company’s HTC One max smartphone features a 5.9-inch 1080p full HD display, a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, an UltraPixel rear camera, 32GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, a 3,300 mAh battery and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean under HTC’s new Sense 5.5 software. And according to slip-ups from both Sprint and Best Buy, it looks like the phone will debut this Friday, November 15th. HTC has yet to make any announcements but with both a major carrier and the nation’s top retailer both pointing to the same date, we can likely expect one to come very shortly. More →
Enhanced 4G LTE service has finally started making its way around the globe, and now Sprint has announced Spark, its own technology that will debut alongside its first tri-band smartphones this fall. Samsung’s Galaxy Mega and Galaxy S4 mini will be the first phones to take advantage of Sprint’s enhanced network and will launch on the carrier on November 8th for $199.99 and $99.99 respectively. The tri-band service will also be available on new LG G2 hardware on the same day, followed by the HTC One Max when it releases. More →
Sprint on Wednesday morning reported results for the third quarter, marking the first time the company posted earnings results since being acquired by Japanese carrier SoftBank. The carrier managed to post combined quarterly net income of $383 million but its operating loss for the third quarter widened to $398 million as subscribers continued to drop its services and head to rival carriers. Sprint’s operating loss in the year-ago quarter was $231 million. Sprint reported a loss 360,000 Sprint contract customers and net subscriber losses totaled 313,000 in the quarter thanks to additions elsewhere in the carrier’s portfolio. It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as Sprint managed to rack up a record $7.3 billion in wireless service revenue, Sprint platform revenue climbed to $5.8 billion, and smartphones now account for a whopping 92% of its postpaid handset sales. The carrier also said it sold about 1.4 million iPhones in the third quarter, 40% of which were to new customers. Sprint’s full earnings release is linked below.
In a momentary reprieve from the gloom surrounding BlackBerry’s future, Sprint declared that it has not yet decided to stop carrying BlackBerry handsets. Sprint CFO Joe Euteneur said that Sprint will be taking a “wait-and-see” approach for whether or not it will continue to carry BlackBerry phones in its stores now that the handset vendor is shifting focus away from the consumer market. The carrier noted that business customers “have typically been the biggest fans of BlackBerry smartphones,” Reuters reports. This development comes right on the heels of T-Mobile’s confirmation that it will no longer carry BlackBerry products in its stores. Reuters also spoke with Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam who stated that, much like Sprint, his company’s decision “would depend on its customers’ wishes.”
As is often the case with Sprint, it’s scrambling to catch up with its rival carriers. CNET reports that Sprint looks poised to launch its own smartphone early upgrade program called Sprint One Up, weeks after T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon all unveiled their own early upgrade programs. CNET says that Sprint’s One Up program will let “customers pick up a phone with no money down and pay for the device in 24 monthly installments” so that “a phone that costs $649.99, for instance, will cost $27 a month.” Customers using One Up will be able to upgrade their devices once a year. T-Mobile got the ball rolling on early smartphone upgrade plans with its own JUMP program this past July and rival carriers Verizon and AT&T were both quick to follow suit.
This Friday, Motorola‘s flagship Moto X smartphone will arrive on Sprint. Keeping with what it’s done on most other carriers, Sprint will offer the Moto X in black or white and the phone will cost $199.99 on contract. As an added incentive, anyone switching to Sprint from another carrier will receive $100 in instant credit, thus lowering the cost of the Moto X to $99.99. The customization options that AT&T customers now enjoy will not be available at launch, but the Moto Maker will come to Sprint “in the coming months” as well. Sprint’s press release follows below. More →
BlackBerry lost $84 million and 4 million subscribers during the May quarter despite the launch of the highly anticipated BlackBerry Q10 smartphone. The Q10 was BlackBerry’s first BlackBerry 10 phone equipped with a full QWERTY keyboard and industry watchers were expecting pent-up demand among BlackBerry loyalists and enterprise users to give the vendor a boost. The company’s struggles continued, however, and it has since announced that it is exploring a sale and other options to reverse course. In the meantime, additional carrier support is never a bad thing and Sprint on Monday announced the upcoming launch of BlackBerry’s flagship Q10 smartphone. Sprint’s version of the phone will become available this coming Friday, August 30th, and it will cost $199.99 on contract. The carrier’s full press release follows below. More →
Samsung still makes Windows Phones. You might not know it since the company doesn’t seem to make much of an effort to actually sell them, but it does. And according to an announcement on Wednesday from Sprint, the company’s latest Windows Phone 8-powered handset will go on sale this Friday, August 16th. $149.99 will get Sprint subscribers a new two-year contract and a Samsung ATIV S Neo, which features a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, microSDXC support and a removable 2,000 mAh battery. Additional details follow below in Sprint’s press release. More →