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Robert Syputa  

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  • AT&T: The Die Has Been Cast [View article]
    The net neutrality issue is not so easily construed as being for or against government control. From the get-go, mobile operators are dependent on government grants of exclusive rights to licensed spectrum. Combined with marketshare and capital requirements, this helps erect barriers to competition unlike that of software, automobile, pharma and other industries. Thus, if you wanted to eliminate government involvement in the private sector, why not start with eliminating licensed spectrum?

    Many companies, industry segments and public groups depend on communications or compete for marketshare against the licensed monopolies/duopoly and are opposed to control over broadband Internet access in the hands of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and other operators.

    If you want less government involvement, why not ask government to open up more unlicensed spectrum? Wi-Fi uses a scant 50MHz of 'junk' 2.4GHz spectrum deemed unsuitable for mobile use yet conveys over 50% of 'mobile' bandwidth with almost no involvement of the FCC or other branches of government. If you think free enterprise works, ask your government officials to open up more and longer range spectrum (lower frequency and higher power limits). If you want constricted use governed under regulatory control, then ask for what we have now - bureaucracy by design..
    Apr 15, 2015. 07:26 PM | 13 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Sprint's Guidance Could Be Ugly [View article]
    Nice article.

    Sprint will need much more capital than outlined:

    Sprint needs at least $3 billion more just to fund operations. If Sprint goes ahead with the expansion of about 7,000 base stations, although many are conversions rather than new locations, they will need an additional few billion in funding. The 600MHz spectrum auction, expected in early 2016, will require $8-$15 billion in additional funding. This low band spectrum is much needed to balance out the preponderance of Sprint's high frequency spectrum.

    Your article makes a point many probably have not considered - that Sprint already sold through the Radio Shack stores and RS's problems stem from lack of sales flow. The 'opening up' of 1,400 stores is an experiment in how much new pull can be achieved from the the more prominent branding of Sprint in those locations. Some consumers may see that as a more convenient Sprint service location.

    Sprint has needed for the previous cycle of replacement of 2G and 3G networks with LTE would result in a turnaround in subscribers and revenue commensurate with the expense... a ROI. Instead, Sprint continues to struggle to report significant growth while the cost of staying competitive have grown.
    Apr 13, 2015. 07:21 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sprint: Don't Follow Executives Into Stock [View article]
    RootMetrics latest report, 4th quarter 2014, shows that Sprint has made a substantial improvement in network quality. However, as mentioned in the previous post, this is largely due to making use of the limited supply of 850 and 1900MHz spectrum. Sprint's most substantial gains in the RM survey came from voice and text coverage and quality which correlates to the use of LTE in the 850MHz band to achieve wide area coverage and in-building penetration. The problem is that the 850MHz band does not have the bandwidth of competitors Verizon and AT&T's 700MHz band to deliver the combination of bandwidth in addition to messaging and voice traffic. The only way Sprint can advance networks to be on a competitive basis across the board (the country), is to acquire 20-40MHz of 600MHz spectrum in the auction expected to occur about 1 year from now. The last auction in the sub-1GHz band was for 700MHz which came in at $24 billion for an aggregate of about 34MHz nationwide. Since then, broadband revenues have soared, fueling the 2-3X higher than expected price of the AWS-3 auction. Despite limits on 30MHz of the auction, the 600MHz spectrum can be expected to fetch a record price, perhaps $60 billion depending on how much of the spectrum is made available for auction by the broadcaster spectrum holders.

    Thus the big question is how can Sprint turn from losses to a money printing machine in order to afford to balance their spectrum portfolio with at least a modest (20-30MHz) of 600MHz spectrum, or, using the alternative theory of network building, build out the largely unused 2.6GHz spectrum in tiered smallcell network architecture multiple-carrier networks. Either approach to network-service gains is more expensive that Sprint looks internally capable of accomplishing as a long term strategy. Short term/patch work improvements are certainly possible and that can send the stock higher... it all comes down to whether Sprint can show 'meaningful' improvement in subscriber growth.. at least several 100,000 gains in core postpaid subscribers imo.
    Mar 19, 2015. 11:40 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Sprint: Don't Follow Executives Into Stock [View article]
    Googe article.

    The assessment of financial analysts has come after years of failures and half-hearted efforts to acquire spectrum and build networks that have ended in failure. The causes for this run deep: mis-matched spectrum portfolio acquisition tied to inappropriate use of network technology has led to sub-par ROI on network capex. Sprint has come to rely on marketing to portray their latest network efforts as showing greater improvement than the quarterly results suggest.

    Let's chunk this down so even the gadfly 'believers' in Sprint might digest it:

    If we look at each of Sprint's spectrum bands in which they are converting or deploying new networks, we see that while 850MHz and 1900MHz appear to show a positive ROI, the conversions are far enough along that future gains will diminish. The contribution to the overall operation has not offset losses due to a) loss to competitors who have better quality, bandwidth and coverage, b) the 'price war' which is more a reaction to losses in subscribers than a pro-active campaign based on more efficient networks. Sprint can ill afford to wage a price war while having the 4th ranked network in terms of performance and customer service quality according to two recent surveys. c) The 3x-4x higher cost of deployment into 2.5GHz LTE band 41 spectrum than competitor's 700MHz, and 1.5X-3X higher than mid-band AWS spectrum.

    Sprint has laid tentative plans to deploy up to 9,000 retrofit and new base stations with the majority being in the 2.5GHz band. Retrofits are normally 1/2 less expensive than new deployments. However, Sprint must use the spectrum they have, namely 2.5GHz which requires dense base stations. Many of these can be smallcells but require new sties. The net impact of greater use of 2.5GHz is higher cost per coverage and building penetration... a factor that has plagued Clearwire-Sprint over the past several years.

    If you look at Sprint's options from an ROI perspective, a viewpoint that is required due to Sprint's nearly exhausted financial options, you see that while the company might build improved competitive service in targeted metro areas, the overall service will continue to lag behind competitors who continue to keep ahead with their own improvements and network expansions at a lower cost.

    The 'net analysis' is that Sprint's competitive ROI produces sub-par gains during a period in which the company should be able to reap the rewards of past capex to replenish the financial coffers. Not only is Sprint failing to show the dramatic improvement in cash flows expected after a major phase of capex investment, its future plans call for spending that results in falling further behind.

    The way out of this rests in the hope that marketing magic can pull out a miracle: If Sprint can wage a 'street fight' for marketshare based on improvement in localized networks and mirages, then Sprint, or so the fantasy plot goes, can turn strongly cash flow positive. However, this looks so far away from recent results that it looks unrealistic.

    Other hopes rest in Google bringing magic to the situation: I may write on this latter.
    Mar 13, 2015. 10:17 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sprint Earnings Review And The Way Forward [View article]
    Fairly even and well written article.

    However, Sprint has not experienced growth in core postpaid subscribers. Outside of 30k core subs, the growth appeared in add-on data subscriptions for pads/laptops. Add-on sub growth has become prominent growth vehicle among US mobile operators owing to the level of feature phone and SmartPhone penetration having reached near saturation. Add-on subs is going through a growth phase due to uptake in pads and otehr devices. However, that trend is unlikely to continue as it will most likely comprise only a portion of overall subscribers.

    In past years Sprint lost millions of core postpaid subscribers and has yet to solidly show a turnaround. Meanwhile, it continues to draft behind T-Mobile and marketshare leaders Verizon and AT&T when what is needed in order to say Sprint has turned around is growth that is substantial.. at a level it is proven to not be just a ripple. Ripples can be tradeable... but hardly reliable. A showing of around 200k+ net postpaid additions with solid guidance that the trend will likely continue would be more meaningful.
    Feb 10, 2015. 06:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Verizon Raises $15.5 Billion Through The Monetization Of Assets [View article]
    Thanks for the article and comments. This helps answer concerns over Verizon payment for recent AWS-3 auction and debt position. The trend for among the large wireless operators, both in the US and abroad, is to divulge themselves of or enter into shared infrastructure deals. The business model is migrating towards broadband based services that will require a shift in emphasis. Various operators, including Verizon, say this allows corporate management to focus more on emerging areas of revenue generation. I expect Verizon to keep on top of network infrastructure development, however, towers are one aspect of networks that makes sense to sell-leaseback.
    Feb 6, 2015. 01:55 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Sprint Is On Its Way For A Rebound [View article]
    The name is Syputa and I do the research.

    Sprint's backing by Masa Son isn't without bounds and a fresh staunch of investment from Softbank will not come without cost to present investors. The company certainly has many positive aspects, however, in a nutshell, it has fallen behind in networks due to a basic flaw: mis-matching of spectrum folio and of spectrum to deployment methodology. Softbank's Japan mobile operations were gone about much differently than Sprint. I won't go into the analysis here and, rather, suggest you do your own bottom up research.
    Feb 6, 2015. 01:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Sprint Is On Its Way For A Rebound [View article]
    I beg to differ with the recasting of the company pablum: Sprint has made incremental improvements that fall short of the goal for a 'turnaround' in subscribers, sales, margins, and network competitiveness. Sprint's results leave many unanswered questions about how the company is going to build a competitive position against a field that will step up deployments into their own recently acquired wideband spectrum.

    Sprint's once exclusive position in 2.6GHz band 41 spectrum has eroded over time due to lack of a robust deployment strategy. Band 41 now resides alongside existing and recently auctioned, easier and cheaper to deploy mid-band AWS spectrum. What stands between having spectrum and using it is a) a cost effective deployment strategy, and b) sales momentum that rolls up revenues from existing and new clients into fresh billion$ needed for the next round of deployments without dilution of current shareholders in the bargain.

    Sprint's recent results fail to demonstrate the sales and capital momentum needed to keep up with competitors, let alone make up lost ground.
    Feb 5, 2015. 08:34 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Patent stocks rally after Supreme Court's Teva ruling [View news story]
    Here we go again: many are jumping to conclusions of the impact of the US Supreme Court ruling on Teva. The ruling is specific to CAFC's deference to district court interpretations of patent claim construction and not to all evidence or legal proceedings. In some cases, this ruling does either nothing or can enhance the defendants case against the assertion of patents.

    Take Parkervision (PRKR) vs. Qualcomm (QCOM) for example: The district court under Judge Dalton has overturned the jury's finding that Qualcomm had infringed. It did not find for Qualcomm on the JMOL for invalidity. Under the new SC ruling, CAFC is inclined to consider Parkervision's appeal based on the Judge Dalton's MARKMAN ruling on claims interpretation. That had, for the most part, gone along with Parkervision to interpret the patent claims very broadly, thus allegedly casting Qualcomm (and many other potential defendants) into infringement. Parkervision's patents are being challenged in PTAB IPR proceedings and in the appeal to CAFC on the grounds that the broad claims construction is invalid as anticipated by multiple prior art.

    CAFC might otherwise have narrowed the MARKMAN to exclude some prior art. Although that might also have further excluded PV's patents from covering Qualcomm's products, the impact of the Supreme Court ruling is to assure that Parkervision's patents will be declared invalid.
    Jan 20, 2015. 08:06 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Updating My Outlook For AT&T And Verizon [View article]
    I agree with your revised view. Concerns about inflation has eased due to macroeconomic events: the rising supply of oil and gas alternatives has driven down the inflationary pressures that might otherwise arise as US economy growth takes a firmer hold. Growth in China has moderated downward. Much has been made of slowing growth in the China and the BRIC countries - while I do not think this is as precipitous or has as much influence on how the US economy will do than some analysts suggest, it does take pressure off of supply of raw inputs and lowers consumer goods inflationary pressures. The rapid decline in oil prices has led to a swing in the pendulum from concerns of inflation to concerns of deflationary price spiral. I don't think either is the case due to the more complex, international spread of markets that has balanced these factors in the past decade. Remember the saying "When America sneezes, the world economy catches a cold"? That has not been the case since the dramatic rise in the BRIC economies has occurred to the point that what happens in the USA, Europe or any single major economic block has become muted by offsets elsewhere.

    That has helped balance out domestic concerns about impacts of inflation - the US can continue to see growth because this is muted by slowing or declines in pricing of raw economic inputs and can contribute to a better and more sustainable balance of exports vs. imports. Domestic industries that are highly debt leveraged thus benefit from both a growing economy, in some cases expanding exports, and, meanwhile, low costs of borrowing. In the case of the leading ICT/mobile companies, Verizon and AT&T, the picture looks pretty darn good: Low interest rates to afford expansion into new spectrum-networks and bringing up of video/TV services and 'personal broadband' into the home and on mobile devices at a pace that outstrips what Sprint or T-Mobile can now afford.

    Jan 9, 2015. 12:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ParkerVision obtains up to $7M in legal funding [View news story]
    This is the dying breaths of a boondoggle of a hayride.
    Dec 28, 2014. 10:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ParkerVision: Investors Need To Watch Both The Courts And The USPTO Over Next 18 Months [View article]
    Judge Dalton, after careful consideration of the evidence in the case, decided as he should have. He gave indication of what he would do for the phase of the trial he was entertaining at that time, which was before fully considering QC's JMOL on infringement. The complexity of the technology requires understanding of details of the circuit, the claims, and evidence. The fact that Judge Dalton may have reversed an opinion made prior to the time he would consider the JMOL and evaluate the evidence in careful deliverance is welcomed but not unusual or misplaced.

    I had thought that DC judge would uphold the jury decision because the odds are often in favor. Prior to the trial, I thought PV/McKool would base their case on creating a story line of mistreatment on the part of big bad Qualcomm and that this might result in a faulty ruling that would then face appeal by Qualcomm. The only surprise is that Judge Dalton saw the light prior to having had his nose snubbed into the facts as presented by Qualcomm by a CAFC reversal. J.D. made the right decision and it will, with zero odds for reversal by Parkervision/McKool imo.
    Dec 26, 2014. 07:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ParkerVision: Investors Need To Watch Both The Courts And The USPTO Over Next 18 Months [View article]
    Your post puts those who think Parkervisions patents are likely invalid as 'bashers'.. I have thought PV's patents to be invalid for about 15 years and, therefore, consider the PTAB ruling to be a confirmation and a concrete step towards invalidation. My calling it a zero chance is my educated opinion... and its the same as I have expressed repeatedly over the years. While PTAB is yet to hold the IPR and make such a ruling, the odds are extremely good imo.

    Longs have gone down a path going from declaring that the jury verdict would result in a large award and expressing that Dalton was a good judge. This ignored facts in the case, namely that Parkervision lacked evidence to support a ruling of infringement. When Dalton reversed the jury verdict, longs turned on his judgement and need for evidence of actual infringement. The issue of invalidity, which Dalton mentioned in his ruling, has seldom been brought up.

    My long standing conviction is that Parkervision's patents are invalid both because there is prior art that will render most if not all claims invalid and because the patents fail to clearly teach the claimed invention. Both of these points have been made in Judge Dalton's decision and have now been confirmed by PTAB.

    The odds of a District Court ruling being reversed is about 17% from recent studies of historical rulings. The chance for an IPR ruling resulting in one or more claims declared invalid is over 50%. The compounded odds of either of these to result in either a sustained DC ruling or striking of claims that would require a retrial is very high. The odds of a new trial resulting in a similarly outlandish award as the first jury verdict is, imo, extremely low. The compounded odds make this investment look outside the margin for the more risk tolerant investors to consider imo.

    However, its your money and you can bet how you wish. Either through PTAB IPR or a CAFC ruling, this case looks headed towards a conclusion within a year to 18 months.
    Dec 26, 2014. 07:19 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • ParkerVision: Investors Need To Watch Both The Courts And The USPTO Over Next 18 Months [View article]
    You are avoiding two issues:
    The IPR petition was approved by PTAB with strong indication independent claims will be invalidated. That does not leave things as they were on the appeal.
    Secondly, the odds of gaining a reversal on appeal from CAFC have now become less than the 17% average odds of winning a reversal of a district court decision. I cannot find a direct corollary case. Anyone who is unbiased has to conclude the odds have gone down by a high percentage/

    Long investors only gain if they find suckers to place the same bets they had placed at time when the risks were lower. My opinion is PRKR has virtually zero chance of success in their legal battles and now is wrapping things up behind eh scenes. The new staunch of $7 million is mostly a scam: it is offered by an unknown litigation LLC and details are suspiciously elusive.
    Dec 24, 2014. 09:06 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Sprint And The Severe Market Overreaction [View article]
    Is it too late for Sprint to set out on a profitable path? It will take fundamental changes in how Sprint designs and deploys networks and how that is coordinated throughout the organization. Thus far, Sprint has continued to lag and shows little signs of making substantive changes needed.

    There remains a chance that Softbank could acquire DISH or pursue aggressive ground up marketing and deployments, but that remains a long shot imo. The timing now depends obtaining some 20-40MHz of 600MHz incentive auction spectrum. The costs, innovation, and time frame needed to deploy as the high capacity 'massively smallcell' operator make it unlikely to play catch up using the 2.6GHz band 41 spectrum.

    The course Sprint is on looks practical at getting Sprint to a more even playing field when what it would take to gain substantial share is being at the top in competition. Customers are not won by mediocrity.
    Dec 21, 2014. 07:24 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment