T-Mobile CEO John Legere has become fond of using social media to taunt his rivals at Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. And on Tuesday, Legere came up with yet another way to use Twitter to annoy his competitors: By posting pictures of their former customers making the switch to T-Mobile. To rub salt even further into the wound, most of the pictures Legere posted were of customers who were also displaying “breakup letters” they’d written to their former carriers that included messages such as “BYE BYE AT&T I’m breaking up with you!” and “Peace out, Sprint, U suck!” T-Mobile first launched its “carrier breakup letter” initiative at CES last week where it offered to help customers write breakup letters informing rival carriers that they were being dumped for “the Uncarrier.” Some of Legere’s choice pictures follow below. More →
Just four months after Sprint’s “One Up” program was introduced, the carrier has quietly killed the initiative. Introduced as a delayed response to T-Mobile’s Uncarrier 2.0 effort dubbed “Jump,” One Up allowed Sprint subscribers to upgrade their smartphones long before their contracts expired when trading in their current working handsets. Alongside the rollout of its new “Framily” plans last week, however, Sprint quietly killed its One Up program. The carrier has yet to discuss exactly why One Up was killed so quickly, but the new Framily plans with unlimited data include a similar option where subscribers can upgrade their smartphones once per year.
An aggressive new wireless telecom pricing strategy led by a charismatic CEO hellbent on shaking up the industry? We’ve been there before, says NPD Group’s Eddie Hold, and it didn’t end in the glorious “uncarrier revolution” that many were expecting. As Hold notes, Sir Richard Branson’s prepaid Virgin Mobile carrier tried to do the same thing last decade and had some success until it got bought out by Sprint, which has typically been the kiss of death for smaller wireless carriers. More →
T-Mobile CEO John Legere may want to make sure his résumé is up to date. Unnamed sources tell Reuters that Sprint parent company SoftBank is already in talks to buy a majority stake T-Mobile US from Deutsche Telekom for $20 billion, a little less than the $21.6 billion that SoftBank paid for Sprint. However, just because SoftBank makes a bid for T-Mobile that doesn’t mean U.S. regulators will allow the deal to go through, especially if they conclude that it will hurt competition in the wireless space. What’s more, a proposed Sprint-T-Mobile merger would come during a time when T-Mobile has really started making waves in the wireless industry with its aggressive “uncarrier” moves that have put pressure on incumbent carriers to change their policies about early smartphone upgrades, among other things.
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.”