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  • Yesterday, 2:02 PM
    • The FCC split on party lines again today in adopting tough new privacy regulations on broadband Internet providers, rules that require an opt-in before sharing most customer data.
    • That could present a problem growing advertising for big providers including Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR), AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
    • The vote passed 3-2 with strong dissents from the panel's two Republican commissioners. More public information (names, addresses) will be treated leniently, but providers will need to ask permission before sharing more sensitive data (like phone-tracked location, or sites visited and apps used).
    • The new rules, while scaled back, have drawn heavy criticism from cable/telecom and advertising sectors, with companies that fret that the move will restructure the Internet's free-content approach.
    • Other players: OTCPK:ATCEY, FTR, CTL, WIN, S, TMUS, CCOI
    | Yesterday, 2:02 PM | 11 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 26, 3:20 PM
    • With AT&T beginning a long journey to acquire Time Warner, is T-Mobile (TMUS +0.7%) the next big acquisition target in the media/telecom space? Analysts are talking up the carrier's prospects after it logged another successful quarter.
    • For its part, T-Mobile has been and still is "very interested" in strategic options, COO Mike Sievert says.
    • "The takeout target over the next 12 months has got to be T-Mobile," says New Street Research's Spencer Kurn, noting potential suitors in Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) -- which is exercising a clause with Verizon to launch MVNO service -- as well as Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and America Movil (NYSE:AMX).
    • Dish has a lot of spectrum but no wireless business -- and it's lost a potential buyer in AT&T, which now has its hands full with Time Warner, notes BTIG's Walt Piecyk.
    • Rival Sprint (S -1.8%) could be a takeover target as well, as CEO Marcelo Claure noted "we've had a lot of bankers placing more calls than usual over the weekend" in yesterday's earnings call.
    | Wed, Oct. 26, 3:20 PM | 175 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 25, 10:40 AM
    • After touching what would have been a 52-week high in premarket action, Sprint (NYSE:S) is off 6.7% after posting fiscal Q2 earnings where it cut losses substantially and beat expectations for profits and revenues.
    • Postpaid phone churn hit a company record low of 1.37%, the seventh straight quarter of Y/Y improvement. But net postpaid phone adds of 347,000 disappointed some analysts despite doubling Q/Q.
    • Total platform net adds were 740,000, which along with postpaid phone adds incorporates wholesale and affiliate net adds of 823,000, and prepaid net losses of 427,000.
    • Adjusted free cash flow was $707M, vs. a loss of $100M a year ago, an $807M swing Y/Y.
    • It's raising guidance on operating income for 2016, to $1.2B-$1.7B from previous expectations for $1B-$1.5B, and reiterating expectations for EBITDA of $9.5B-$10B, and adjusted free cash flow around break-even.
    • Cash capex is now expected below $3B, as the company has better visibility into payment timing tied to network densification.
    • Press Release
    | Tue, Oct. 25, 10:40 AM | 170 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 25, 7:32 AM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S): FQ2 EPS of -$0.04 beats by $0.03.
    • Revenue of $8.25B (+3.4% Y/Y) beats by $140M.
    • Shares +3.5% PM.
    • Press Release
    | Tue, Oct. 25, 7:32 AM | 57 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 24, 6:22 PM
    • AT&T's deal to acquire Time Warner is "good for T-Mobile (TMUS +9.5%) in the short and medium term," says T-Mobile chief John Legere today, expecting a distraction at his blue whale of a nemesis while his underdog firm racks up new subscribers.
    • T-Mobile today logged net adds of 851,000 subscribers in branded postpaid phones, while AT&T lost 268,000 this quarter. For its part, Verizon lost 36,000 net subs in branded postpaid phones. (Sprint, the No. 4 carrier, added 347,000.)
    • The Time Warner deal is a "bold move. It's going to cause acceleration," Legere says, but noting that AT&T could get "further defocused" on the wireless business as it diversifies.
    • The interesting question going forward: Will regulators have a fresh stance on a once-squelched merger of T-Mobile with Sprint (S +5.7%) now that AT&T is making a move toward becoming a telecom/media behemoth?
    • T-Mobile stock hit a nine-year high today. Sprint reports earnings tomorrow before the bell.
    • Previously: T-Mobile up 7.4% on subscriber boost, Q3 profit beat (Oct. 24 2016)
    • Previously: T-Mobile US beats by $0.04, misses on revenue (Oct. 24 2016)
    | Mon, Oct. 24, 6:22 PM | 20 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 24, 5:30 PM
    | Mon, Oct. 24, 5:30 PM | 28 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 20, 4:38 PM
    • Sprint (S -2.3%) has priced the debt backed by its wireless spectrum.
    • Through three special-purpose subsidiaries, Sprint priced $3.5B in 3.36% senior secured notes in a private transaction.
    • The notes are issued at 99.99834% of principal; have an interest-only period followed by quarterly amortizations beginning Dec. 20, 2017; have a weighted average life of about three years and "anticipated repayment date" of Sept. 20, 2021.
    • The notes were expected to yield about 3.5% after $30B in orders piled in.
    • The subsidiaries will take over about 14% of Sprint's total spectrum holdings (on MHz-pops basis) to serve as collateral for the notes. Rental payments from Sprint will be sufficient to service the notes, it says.
    • The central value of the company's spectrum portfolio as of June 30 is estimated at $16.4B.
    • Previously: Sprint to raise $3.5B in new spectrum sale/leaseback (Oct. 12 2016)
    • Previously: Wells Fargo: Sprint's spectrum alone could be worth $21/share; S +3.4% (Oct. 14 2016)
    | Thu, Oct. 20, 4:38 PM | 226 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 20, 4:16 AM
    • In a novel initiative, Sprint (NYSE:S) is set to issue $3.5B in five-year bonds that are backed by its wireless spectrum, which the telecom operator values at $16.4B.
    • Investors seem to like the idea, with orders hitting $30B.
    • The first-of-its-kind deal will allow Sprint to slash its borrowing costs. The paper is expected to yield 3.5% and the telecom provider plans to use the money to repay maturing debt. This could cut its financing costs and boost cash flows by an estimated $200M a year.
    • The debt is receiving investment grade status from Fitch and Moody’s despite Sprint itself being rated as junk.
    | Thu, Oct. 20, 4:16 AM | 53 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 18, 8:37 AM
    • The company sees FQ2 net operating revenue of $8.25B, up 3% Y/Y, and wireless net operating revenue of $7.85B up nearly 5%.
    • Net loss of $142M vs. $585M a year ago, with this quarter's result boosted by a non-cash gain of $218M.
    • Operating income of $622M vs. a $2M loss a year ago, again boosted by that non-cash gain ($354M pretax).
    • Adjusted EBITDA of $2.35B up 17% Y/Y.
    • Adjusted free cash flow of $707M vs. a negative $100M a year ago.
    • Total Sprint platform net additions of 740K during quarter, including postpaid net additions of 344K, prepaid net losses of 427K, and wholesale and affiliate net additions of 823K.
    • Total postpaid churn of 1.52% slipped two basis points, and postpaid phone churn of 1.37% was lowest in company history.
    • S +0.7% premarket
    | Tue, Oct. 18, 8:37 AM | 137 Comments
  • Fri, Oct. 14, 12:56 PM
    • Echoing a chorus of frustrated investors, Wells Fargo's Jennifer Fritsche figures that Sprint (NYSE:S) is worth $21/share in spectrum value alone.
    • That's after accounting for $32B in debt. Shares are up 3.4% to $7 and the stock has hit a two-year high today in response.
    • Crunching numbers on Sprint's third and latest sale/leaseback on spectrum, Fritsche says the price tag it puts on the airwaves is higher than the Street figured: If 14% of the spectrum is worth $16.4B, then total value comes to about $117B.
    • The spectrum deal lowers average cost of debt and should help cash flow in the short term, she says. “Once Sprint gets beyond the December payment ($2.3B due in 12/2016) its next three maturities are coupons which are between 8 3/8% and 9 1/8% ... Therefore, this deal could be immediately be accretive on a FCF basis, as Sprint should be able to significantly lower its interest expense and put its Net Operating Losses (NOLs) to work.”
    • She also has raised estimates for postpaid phone additions to 275,000 from a previous 200,000, vs. consensus expectations for 230,000.
    | Fri, Oct. 14, 12:56 PM | 178 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 12, 9:10 AM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) is up 1.2% premarket following a new plan to raise billions from a spectrum sale/leaseback.
    • For the third time, the company will mortgage spectrum -- about 14% of its airwaves, an amount the company estimates as worth $16.4B. It won't borrow all that at first, though, looking to raise about $3.5B.
    • That would provide needed cash in its current crunch. Negative cash flow came to $3.17B for the fiscal year ended in March.
    • Through three special-purpose subsidiaries, Sprint will use a portfolio of FCC licenses and some third-party leases (in 2.5 GHz and 1.9 GHz) in a sale and long-term leaseback. The spectrum in question is used in about 77% of Sprint's 2.5 GHz enabled sites, and in about 33% of its 1.9 GHz sites.
    • It expects the notes to be rated investment grade by Moody's and Fitch.
    | Wed, Oct. 12, 9:10 AM | 143 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 11, 1:31 PM
    • Sprint (S -0.7%) is starting a multi-year initiative, the 1Million Project, to give free mobile devices and high-speed wireless Internet to 1M low-income high-school students.
    • The project will work through its Sprint Foundation. It's designed to help eliminate the "homework gap," now that high school homework (and preparing for college) increasingly demands high-speed Internet access, and lower-income students often lack it at home.
    • The company will work with partner nonprofits to identify students wih insufficient access at home and provide differing device solutions for up to four years. "Each student may receive either a free smartphone, tablet, laptop or hotspot device and 3GB of high-speed LTE data per month," Sprint says; overages will hit unlimited data at 2G speeds.
    | Tue, Oct. 11, 1:31 PM | 54 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 5, 11:05 AM
    • An outage that hit a number of telecoms yesterday was tied to a technical issue at Level 3 Communications (LVLT -0.3%).
    • A configuration error caused downtime for several of its customers, the company acknowledged, but it didn't say which customers or for how long.
    • Meanwhile, reports had circulated about outages hitting the big four wireless providers (T, VZ, TMUS, S) as well as Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA). Problems lasted an hour or more, though Level 3 said issues were resolved around 11:30 a.m.
    | Wed, Oct. 5, 11:05 AM | 161 Comments
  • Tue, Sep. 20, 2:57 PM
    • With wireless subscription growth slowing overall, the "try harder" guys each say they're stealing each other's customers.
    • T-Mobile (TMUS -2.8%) and Sprint (S -5.9%) said today they're taking subscribers from their small competitor, and thus presenting a tougher challenge to industry leaders AT&T and Verizon.
    • They can't both be 100% right, though time may tell. T-Mobile provided a preliminary update, while Sprint will release official results at the end of the quarter.
    • In its update, T-Mobile said it added about 753,000 branded postpaid phone subs in Q3 so far -- pacing below last year's Q3 gain of 1.1M with just a couple of weeks left, but ahead of Q2 in branded postpaid phone and prepaid net adds.
    • To be fair, T-Mobile (a standout in industry subscriber growth in recent quarters) says it's taking customers from everyone this quarter: 250,000 postpaid phone and prepaid net customer adds from Verizon (VZ +0.3%), and 400,000 from AT&T (T -0.1%), to go along with 300,000 from Sprint.
    • T-Mobile will provide a business update in a presentation to Goldman Sachs' Communacopia Conference Thursday at 10:30 a.m. ET.
    • Previously: Sprint's Claure: All employees tied to turnaround; Five-year plan on track (Sep. 20 2016)
    | Tue, Sep. 20, 2:57 PM | 117 Comments
  • Tue, Sep. 20, 11:15 AM
    • All of Sprint's (S -0.5%) employees have an incentive package tied to the company's turnaround, says CEO Marcelo Claure, and the packages are just like his, he says: no equity until the stock price improves to $8 (it's currently at $6.62).
    • Speaking at Goldman Sachs' Communacopia conference, Claure was asked how recovery efforts are proceeding and he discussed recent successes, the company's progress on network investment and efforts to cut churn.
    • The last few quarters have been great for churn, Claure says. There's been uncertainty among customers about Sprint in recent years, but "Once they come, they stay -- and they like it." He added that the company's "iPhone Forever" plan (offering customers a chance to upgrade to the newest iPhone when it's available) is what they internally call a "zero-churn program," designed to get customers upgraded before the end of their contract.
    • "Yes, we're going to increase capex," Claure says, but "never to the tune of what's been done in the past." Technology changes have changed up the investment path, he says. "Don't over-invest; be smart on how we invest our money." Network investment gains come not just from small cells but in macro cells and femtocells as well.
    • Claure described watching Verizon commercials as a child: "I don't remember them trying to hit somebody else the way they're trying to hit us," Claure says of Verizon marketing against Sprint now. Network gains are paying off: "Yes, Sprint is not better than Verizon yet, but we are the comeback story," and better than Verizon in some markets, he says.
    • Sprint shares pushed close to a 52-week high just before Claure spoke, but toward the end of his session the stock dipped to a decline of 0.5%. Sprint's up 84% YTD.
    | Tue, Sep. 20, 11:15 AM | 46 Comments
  • Tue, Sep. 13, 9:50 AM
    • T-Mobile (TMUS -1%) has paced to its new smartphone sales record with the initial days of preordering for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
    • The company didn't release total sales figures but said the phone set a single-day record for any smartphone on Friday, and over its first four days, the pre-orders were about four times more than the next most popular iPhone.
    • Pre-orders began Sept. 9, and the phones will be available in T-Mobile stores Friday. Prepaid customers on MetroPCS will be able to get the new iPhones starting Sept. 23.
    • Sprint (S -1.5%), meanwhile, said that in its first three days, preorders of the iPhone 7 and Plus are up more than 375% over last year.
    | Tue, Sep. 13, 9:50 AM | 269 Comments