Fri, Oct. 30, 4:37 PM
- As tea leaves for reading go, Sprint (S -1.3%) shareholders have looked to worse teas: Chairman Masayoshi Son has bought a home in Kansas City, an indication that he'll be spending more time at headquarters working on the struggling carrier's turnaround.
- Son lives in Japan, but has been meeting monthly with Sprint execs in California, where he also owns a house. A home in Kansas City gives him a place to stay during more frequent visits to HQ.
- The new home is also close to CEO Marcelo Claure's house in the Mission Hills neighborhood.
- Despite a dip today, Sprint shares are up 38% over the past three months.
- Previously: Sprint halves severance pay in latest cost control measure (Oct. 26 2015)
- Previously: Claure: With its revenues, no reason Sprint can't be profitable (Oct. 26 2015)
Thu, Oct. 29, 3:27 PM
- Sprint (S -5.1%) has yet another revision to its plans, offering a "starter unlimited data" plan that includes 1 GB of high-speed data plus unlimited (2G, slow-speed) data for $20/month.
- The offering launches tomorrow and can be tied to a $20/month unlimited talk/text plan along with Sprint Global Roaming.
- As previously reported, Sprint kicked up the price of its true unlimited plan to $70/month. That plan offers unlimited high-speed data plus 3 GB of mobile hotspot usage along with Global Roaming. Additional lines on that plan are $60/month each.
- The starter-plan participants will be able to buy additional chunks of high-speed data as needed but won't face overages for unlimited use of the 2G-speed data.
Mon, Oct. 26, 3:49 PM
- Sprint (S +1.6%) is cutting severance pay in half -- which may be presaging more layoffs amid the company's latest round of cost controls.
- The company is cutting severance pay to one week of pay per year worked at Sprint, from the previous two, for employees notified after Jan. 30 of their layoff.
- Last fall about this time, Sprint cut 458 employees. The company is in the middle of a new cost-cutting push, with CFO Tarek Robbiati vowing it will cut $2.5B from a "bloated" structure.
- Previously: Sprint to target 'bloated' structure with $2.5B in cost cuts (Oct. 09 2015)
Mon, Oct. 26, 1:02 PM
- Marcelo Claure says moving up to be CEO of Sprint (S +1.3%) was like "moving to the major leagues" and says there's no reason the company can't gradually become profitable.
- In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Claure says he took on the challenge at a company that burned $5B in cash, lost $800M and had $32B in debt because he found it hard to understand why a firm with $35B in revenue can't be profitable.
- Coming from the company he founded, Brightstar, to Sprint has been the most difficult challenge of his life, he says.
- After turning around customer losses, Claure says his next goals are much bigger: "Sprint has never had the best network in the U.S. Sprint hasn’t turned positive free cash flow in many years. Sprint hasn’t made real profit in many years. So now we have set those goals."
Thu, Oct. 22, 2:25 PM
- SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY +1.6%) gave some more visibility on planned investments as Chairman Masayoshi Son said the company will spread "several billions" of dollars each year around the world as part of its evolution into a true global enterprise.
- There's particular interest in India, Son says. In a streamed conversation with likely successor and company president Nikesh Arora, Son said the company will seek out passionate entrepreneurs in the right markets, like Jack Ma (SoftBank's stake in Alibaba is more than 30%).
- Arora had made a "personal bet" on SoftBank this summer by pledging to buy nearly half a billion dollars worth of its stock, and he's been a big proponent of investments in India -- possibly to the detriment of struggling Sprint (S +0.8%). SoftBank increased its ownership in Sprint to 83% last month but has said it wouldn't go above 85%.
- Previously: SoftBank up 4.4% on Arora's multimillion-dollar 'personal bet' (Aug. 19 2015)
Tue, Oct. 20, 11:32 AM
- Sprint (S -1.7%) hits a legal setback as it fails in a bid to dismiss a $300M fraud lawsuit filed by New York State over billing for wireless service taxes.
- The state used whistleblower information to charge the company with failing to collect more than $100M in taxes from New York customers, in violation of a 2002 state law imposing those taxes on interstate services.
- Sprint had claimed that law was unconstitutional, but the state's Court of Appeals rejected that contention in a 4-1 decision.
- The state's attorney general is seeking to treble the $100M tax collection in damages and penalties.
Fri, Oct. 16, 5:41 PM
Fri, Oct. 16, 5:07 PM
- The FCC is probing four companies -- AT&T (T +1%), Verizon (VZ +0.1%), CenturyLink (CTL -0.7%) and Frontier Communications (FTR -1.9%) -- over terms they set for business broadband, the dedicated mission-critical lines that make everything from schools to ATMs work.
- That's a $20B market, and competitors including Sprint (NYSE:S), Level 3 (NYSE:LVLT) and Cogent (NASDAQ:CCOI), along with Amazon.com and others, are complaining about unfair lock-ups with large early termination fees.
- The FCC has found "potentially unjust and unreasonable practices" that rise to the level of an investigation. It says the four companies it's probing use plans with “a complicated web of all-or-nothing bundling, loyalty and term commitments, complex enforcing penalties” and other provisions, and asked them to respond by Dec. 18.
- In a mailed statement, industry group USTelecom (of which the four companies are members) says the investigation is a "rear-view mirror" approach. “Although the FCC says that it wants to be a data-driven agency, promote facilities-based competition, and incent broadband investment, it just can’t seem to get beyond its telephone-era mindset when it comes to regulating 20th century legacy services," says USTelecom President Walter McCormick.
Fri, Oct. 16, 10:33 AM
- A review of U.S. wireless operators has Nomura making AT&T (T +0.9%) and T-Mobile (TMUS +2.1%) its top picks, with a more subdued outlook on Verizon (VZ, flat) and Sprint (S -1.1%).
- The firm has Buy ratings on T and TMUS, and is Neutral on VZ and S.
- The companies' reactions to a modest growth future vary widely, says Jeffrey Kvaal. Verizon and AT&T are taking two radically different paths into video, while Sprint and T-Mobile go after share gain -- helped by the fact that the incumbents are unlikely to lower their prices.
- DirecTV synergies should more than offset some share loss at AT&T, and the firm faces modest video subscriber erosion, he says. Meanwhile, T-Mobile should be able to maintain share gains and EBITDA expansion with its aggressive approach.
- As for Verizon, "visibility beyond a sideways 2016 is limited," and Sprint continues to face a balance sheet strain though its improving network and pricing models have put it "on the brink of a true revival story."
- Price targets: For AT&T, $39 (closed yesterday at $33.49, 16.5% implied upside); for T-Mobile, $48 (closed yesterday at $39.94, 20% implied upside); for Verizon, $47 (closed yesterday at $44.67, 5% implied upside); for Sprint, $4 (closed yesterday at $4.27).
Wed, Oct. 14, 3:04 PM
- T-Mobile (TMUS -1.6%) has brought back its 10 GB four-line family plan in what may be a harbinger of the wireless war heating up for the holidays.
- The plan -- $120/month for four lines, 10 GB of data -- is reminiscent of more aggressive plans ended this summer, from Verizon ($80 for 10 GB) and T-Mobile ($100 for 10 GB).
- Quieter AT&T (T -0.2%), meanwhile, "seems to be taking a more passive strategy, with a distinct focus on subscriber retention, ARPU (average revenue per user) preservation and setting the stage for growth and cross leverage opportunities as it integrates the DirecTV asset," says Barclays' Amir Rozwadowski.
- Including tablets, Rozwadowski is forecasting that Verizon (VZ -0.7%) will add 1.15M postpaid subscribers this quarter, followed by T-Mobile (1.07M), AT&T (300K) and Sprint (S -2.9%) with 270K.
- Verizon is first up among quarterly reporters next Tuesday.
Tue, Oct. 13, 12:17 PM
- Despite some initial skepticism, Sprint (S -0.9%) is further expanding its Direct 2 You house-call service.
- The new delivery/customization offering is moving into Charlotte, N.C.; Cincinnati; Las Vegas; Nashville; New Orleans; Pittsburgh; and Salt Lake City. Sprint plans to take it coast to coast in 2016.
- The free plan lets customers schedule an appointment for a Sprint expert to deliver a device, set up the account and transfer content from an old device.
- While the company is pursuing billions in cost cuts, the savings could go to funding the Direct 2 You program as Sprint continues hiring drivers to get its devices out.
- Previously: Sprint to target 'bloated' structure with $2.5B in cost cuts (Oct. 09 2015)
- Related: Sprint Appears Fickle And Confused (Oct. 13 2015)
- Related: Sprint: Cost Cutting Is A Sign Of Desperation (Oct. 09 2015)
Fri, Oct. 9, 9:26 AM
- In Tokyo to meet with execs at parent SoftBank, Sprint's (NYSE:S) new CFO Tarek Robbiati elaborated on reports of coming cost cuts -- confirming news that the company will cut $2B via operating costs and finding another $500M in equipment spending that can be reduced.
- “Our cost structure is bloated,” Robbiati said, without identifying the number of jobs that could go by the wayside. The company employed about 31,000 people by the end of March.
- Sprint has about $20B in operating expenses and an industry-heavy $7.1B in capital expenditures. Cuts will be targeted and not necessarily across the board, the company says.
- SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY), for its part, has taken its stake in Sprint to 83% through steady buys.
- The cuts make Sprint look like a company that's "playing for time, and trying to conserve cash to make it until a new administration when they can try again to find a merger partner,” says bearish Craig Moffett. “There doesn’t seem to be a plan B any more.”
- Previously: Sprint memo: Up to $2.5B in cost cuts will mean job reductions (Oct. 01 2015)
- Previously: Sprint falls another 6%; in 'valley of darkness' amid network fixes (Sep. 29 2015)
- Previously: Sprint confirms it'll skip spring broadcast airwaves auction (Sep. 28 2015)
Thu, Oct. 8, 7:42 PM
- After a September pummeling, high-yield bonds are having an entirely different month, and telecom bonds (worst last month) have "knocked the cover off the ball so far in October."
- That's according to Marty Fridson of Lehmann Livian Fridson. Telecom bonds had tumbled to a -5.34% total return last month, displacing usual suspects of energy/metals/mining, and led by the drop in Sprint (S -0.9%) bonds after a Moody's downgrade. It wasn't just Sprint, though, as wireline, wireless and satellite were well represented by other companies with -5% returns or worse.
- This month is a different story. Junk bonds overall are up 0.65% in the first six days, and longer-dated Sprint issues have returned 6.58%-10.58% for that period, as the spread widening may have gotten overdone.
- "By the end of September, 10 Sprint issues had option-adjusted spreads wider than the median for the CCC1 category (using BofA Merrill Lynch’s blended notation), which was 838 basis points, with the widest Sprint bond at 1,022," Fridson says.
- Frontier Communications (FTR +0.6%) is also bouncing back, with its bonds up as much as 5.58% for the first six days.
Fri, Oct. 2, 2:59 PM
- AT&T (T -0.4%) has a letter in to the FCC noting that while it awaits a waiver from the FCC to offer Wi-Fi calling services -- a more notable service deficiency with the advent of Apple's iOS9 -- Sprint (S +4%) and T-Mobile (TMUS +0.1%), along with Google's Project Fi, are offering such services without such a waiver.
- AT&T had planned to offer Wi-Fi calling in September, but filed a waiver related to TTY support regulations (as such assistance for the hearing- and speech-impaired can be tricky to provide over some Wi-Fi). The agency hasn't provided such a waiver yet, "even while our competitors provide those services in defiance of the commission's rules," AT&T writes.
- The carrier is pressing for a granted waiver "without further delay."
Thu, Oct. 1, 6:46 PM
- Sprint (S +5.5%) is going to cut an ambitious $2B to $2.5B in costs -- including jobs -- over the next six months, The Wall Street Journal reports from a memo written by Sprint's new CFO.
- It's implementing an external hiring freeze and the cost cuts "inevitably will result in job reductions," writes Tarek Robbiati, who took over the CFO post in early August.
- “The main thing to consider when requesting to spend money is to take an owner’s mindset by treating every dollar as if it were your own," he continues in the memo. The finance department will be approving all expenditures.
- The communication didn't put a number to job cuts, but the company employed about 31K people at the end of March.
- After hours, Sprint stock is up another 0.3% to add on to today's gains.
Wed, Sep. 30, 5:15 PM
- Sprint (S +2.7%) is going to kick up the cost of its unlimited data plan, formerly $60/month, to $70/month, showing that unlimited data plans may be testing sustainability at the wireless carriers.
- That's still the best U.S. postpaid deal for that plan, and current customers will be grandfathered in at the $60/month rate. The price changes for new customers Oct. 16.
- T-Mobile (TMUS +0.6%) sells an unlimited data plan for $80/month, and AT&T (T +1.5%) and Verizon (VZ -0.1%) don't offer one.
- Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has alluded to the strain of unlimited data, as well as wishes to bump customers toward the tiered data plans.
- Earlier, Sprint pursued limiting video download speeds, but has removed such restrictions as customers pushed back.
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