Sprint Corporation
 (S)

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  • Oct. 20, 2015, 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.
    | Oct. 20, 2015, 11:32 AM | 8 Comments
  • Oct. 16, 2015, 5:41 PM
    | Oct. 16, 2015, 5:41 PM | 30 Comments
  • Oct. 16, 2015, 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.
    | Oct. 16, 2015, 5:07 PM | 24 Comments
  • Oct. 16, 2015, 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).
    | Oct. 16, 2015, 10:33 AM | 17 Comments
  • Oct. 14, 2015, 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.
    | Oct. 14, 2015, 3:04 PM | 13 Comments
  • Oct. 13, 2015, 12:17 PM
    | Oct. 13, 2015, 12:17 PM | 9 Comments
  • Oct. 9, 2015, 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)
    | Oct. 9, 2015, 9:26 AM | 18 Comments
  • Oct. 8, 2015, 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.
    | Oct. 8, 2015, 7:42 PM | 2 Comments
  • Oct. 2, 2015, 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."
    | Oct. 2, 2015, 2:59 PM | 25 Comments
  • Oct. 1, 2015, 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.
    | Oct. 1, 2015, 6:46 PM | 42 Comments
  • Sep. 30, 2015, 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.
    | Sep. 30, 2015, 5:15 PM | 36 Comments
  • Sep. 29, 2015, 4:18 PM
    • After slipping 7.4% yesterday, and trading flat for much of today, Sprint (NYSE:S) took  the last hour to fall another 6%.
    • At $3.74, it's at its lowest point in seven weeks (since Aug. 10). The moves are coming in the wake of two key catalysts: an extreme discount on getting new iPhones into customers' hands, and its decision to skip the broadcast incentive spectrum auction at a time of clogged airwaves.
    • This is the "valley of darkness" for Sprint, analyst Roger Entner says, where it will live "for another year before improvements will be widely recognized by consumers.”
    • The company will save some $9B by skipping the spectrum auction -- important, as cash burn speeds up -- though Sprint is already sitting on a heavy supply of unused spectrum. Now the key is putting it to work.
    • Ultimately, Entner thinks some turnaround will happen: “There’s no way SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) is going to let them go belly up." Wells Fargo's Jennifer Fritzsche thinks the onus is on getting those unused airwaves into service: “Sprint is still a show-me story, especially on the network side."
    • Previously: Sprint confirms it'll skip spring broadcast airwaves auction (Sep. 28 2015)
    • Previously: On eve of iPhone launch, Sprint offers $1/month plan (Sep. 24 2015)
    • Previously: Evercore: Sprint, T-Mobile could merge network assets into a REIT (Sep. 22 2015)
    | Sep. 29, 2015, 4:18 PM | 35 Comments
  • Sep. 28, 2015, 7:55 PM
    • Sprint (S -7.3%) confirmed that (as expected) it won't take part in the FCC's broadcast incentive auction for wireless spectrum next March -- a move that should suit T-Mobile's (NYSE:TMUS) John Legere just fine, as he's vocally argued for low-band access.
    • "Sprint has the spectrum it needs to deploy its network architecture of the future," said CEO Marcelo Claure in his statement. The company's already densifying the network and pursuing techniques like carrier aggregation to unlock potential in its 2.5 GHz position.
    • The auction, for prized low-band airwaves that will help with indoor penetration and rural areas, won't be cheap -- so skipping it should make a major difference to cash burn, a vital issue for Sprint.
    • After an August run to $5.19, fueled by SoftBank's share purchases, shares are back under $4, at $3.98 (down 21.5% since Aug. 28).
    • Previously: Sprint's Claure: Turnaround is taking hold with customer, network growth (Sep. 17 2015)
    • Previously: Wells Fargo: T-Mobile, Sprint get edge with new iPhone financing approach (Sep. 10 2015)
    | Sep. 28, 2015, 7:55 PM | 26 Comments
  • Sep. 24, 2015, 7:24 PM
    • With wireless carriers fighting over new iPhone deals seemingly every few hours, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is responding to the scrum with Sprint and T-Mobile and now offering customers a program to upgrade their iPhone annually.
    • So long as users have paid off at least half their device's cost and turn in their current device, they'll be eligible to upgrade each year without waiting for their contract to end.
    • "If you’re not interested in upgrading, you still have the option to pay your phone off in 24 low monthly payments," Verizon says in its release, warning about "surprise balloon payments" with competitors.
    • Customers who pre-ordered the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus under Verizon's Device Payment installment option are automatically enrolled.
    • Earlier, T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) introduced an iPhone lease plan as low as $5/month, and Sprint (NYSE:S) responded with an all-night number crunch to create today's $1/month lease plan.
    • In after-hours action: VZ +0.1%; S -0.2%; TMUS unchanged.
    | Sep. 24, 2015, 7:24 PM | 25 Comments
  • Sep. 24, 2015, 3:04 PM
    • Upping the iPhone ante with a day to go before the newest model's launch, Sprint (S +0.5%) has responded to a T-Mobile $5/month promotion by announcing a $1/month device plan.
    • Friday's launch "is the day a lot of consumers choose who's going to be their carrier," says Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. "We wanted to make sure we have the best iPhone offer."
    • The carrier, seeing "heatlhy" pre-order action, is offering a 16 GB iPhone 6s for $1/month with a trade-in of an iPhone 6 (last year's model). The rate goes to $5/month when getting an iPhone 6s Plus.
    • T-Mobile (TMUS -1.6%) yesterday had offered $5/month and $10/month leases for the two models when trading in last year's iPhone or certain other late-model phones.
    • Promotions for the new phone have seen a lot of action this month since Apple announced it was offering its own financing for unlocked iPhones.
    • Previously: T-Mobile seeing heavy iPhone demand, pushing $5/month lease (Sep. 23 2015)
    • Previously: Wells Fargo: T-Mobile, Sprint get edge with new iPhone financing approach (Sep. 10 2015)
    | Sep. 24, 2015, 3:04 PM | 26 Comments
  • Sep. 22, 2015, 7:24 PM
    • With most observers thinking any theoretical merger between T-Mobile (TMUS -1.1%) and Sprint (S +0.3%) would have to wait until a new U.S. administration (and John Legere saying "Oh yeah ... the only possible coming together of Sprint and T-Mobile is if we pick them up off the sidewalk"), analysts at Evercore say the two could combine network assets.
    • It would be a sort of a merger, into a new company (a REIT in particular) that would hold their network resources. Bigger investments at lower cost would come, along with a speedier network once spectrum assets were blended.
    • Given up, of course, would be the chance to differentiate, and snipe the rival over network power.
    • Combined, the two control 255 MHz of spectrum, more than the 147 MHz at AT&T (T -0.9%) or the 116 MHz of Verizon (VZ -0.9%). A new "NetCo" would rent the network back to the two, as well as possibly others, and support MVNO customers.
    • As a final entry in the "pro" column, the analysts note a combined network would make any future merger more headache-free.
    | Sep. 22, 2015, 7:24 PM | 21 Comments
Company Description
Sprint Corp is a communications company offering wireless and wireline communications products and services to individual consumers, businesses, government subscribers and resellers.