Seeking Alpha

Sprint Corporation (S)

  • Tue, Aug. 18, 7:54 PM
    • Verizon (NYSE:VZ) led in overall network performance rankings again, according to the first-half report by analytics firm RootMetrics, though Sprint's network investments may be paying off.
    • Across the board, the results were similar to the last few analyses by the firm. In nationwide performance tests, Verizon took five wins to AT&T's (NYSE:T) one. In state-by-state looks, Verizon grabbed 253 wins/ties, to AT&T's 95. Sprint (NYSE:S) took 25 and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) zero.
    • Metro areas show more variation, but Verizon prevailed overall there too, with 512 wins/ties. AT&T logged 441, T-Mobile 221, and Sprint 180.
    • The tests resulted in a RootScore of 94.5 for Verizon, followed by AT&T's 91.8. Sprint finished third with 87.5, and T-Mobile brought up the rear there, with 82. In the first half of 2014, T-Mobile was third in those rankings to Sprint's fourth place.
    | Tue, Aug. 18, 7:54 PM | 6 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 18, 9:54 AM
    | Tue, Aug. 18, 9:54 AM | 11 Comments
  • Mon, Aug. 17, 4:53 PM
    • Another brick falls from the contract-wireless wall, as Sprint (S +10.1%) CEO Marcelo Claure tells The Wall Street Journal that the carrier will do away with contracts and shift to a leased-smartphone model by year's end.
    • Sprint introduced a lease option last year, and ending its subsidies means that leasing or upfront purchase will be the only ways to get a smartphone from the carrier.
    • The move leaves AT&T (T +0.5%) as the only carrier of the U.S. big four that is still offering to subsidize a smartphone buy. Verizon (VZ +0.1%) made its major move earlier this month, and all are following in T-Mobile's (TMUS +1.9%) footsteps on dropping contracts.
    • Earlier, Sprint rolled out its "iPhone Forever" plan that served as a precursor to the model: For $22/month over and above the usual monthly fees, customers can upgrade to the latest iPhone as soon as it becomes available, rather than once every two years. Claure says parent SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY -1%) will help it monetize traded-in phones.
    | Mon, Aug. 17, 4:53 PM | 20 Comments
  • Mon, Aug. 17, 9:41 AM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) is up 3.4% in early going -- making it up 27.9% over the past five days, to its highest point in over a month.
    • As has often been the case lately, the stock is moving on a new promotion, "iPhone Forever" -- allowing new and existing customers to upgrade their iPhones to the most up-to-date model anytime, for $22/month.
    • The company is doing a limited promotion through the end of the year reducing the monthly rate to $15 (until the next upgrade) for upgrade-eligible customers who bring in a smartphone and get a 16GB iPhone 6.
    • The stock's trading at $4.32; it last closed that high on July 6.
    | Mon, Aug. 17, 9:41 AM | 16 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 12, 11:25 PM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) finished after-hours trading up 8% on news that SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) put another $87M into the struggling carrier, lifting its stake to about 80% from 79.4%.
    • The news that SoftBank bought 22.9M shares (at an average price of $3.80) came from the parent company in a statement in Tokyo on Thursday. Latest quote after hours was $4.20/share -- almost 25% above last Friday's close of $3.37.
    • SoftBank says it may make more buys while limiting its holdings to less than 85% (a threshold that would make Sprint a candidate for delisting).
    • Updated 11:37 p.m.: SoftBank is down 3% in Tokyo, while the Nikkei is up 0.4%.
    • SoftBank statement
    • Previously: Son facing down increasing doubts about Sprint's future (Aug. 12 2015)
    | Wed, Aug. 12, 11:25 PM | 26 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 12, 11:07 AM
    • Masayoshi Son's double-down on the future of Sprint (S -6.4%) came after he and another top executive at SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY), Nikesh Arora, floated the idea of selling the company to Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and to France's Altice (OTCPK:ATCEY) -- but getting no uptake, according to The Wall Street Journal.
    • "I should go back to where I was focused," he says -- the Internet side of SoftBank -- though a long slog is ahead yet, if he's to turn around a company that hasn't turned an annual profit since 2006.
    • Son was banking on a merger with T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) and calls his misjudgment of U.S. regulators "one of the biggest mistakes in my life." Now, the focus is on improving the carrier's network as hopes for restarting a merger push with T-Mobile are on hold until after the 2016 presidential election.
    • Son appeared on Sprint's earnings call last week to reiterate excitement about the company's future under Marcelo Claure, who Son calls "my soul mate ... a street fighter sharing the underdog experience like myself."
    • But fixing Sprint is turning out to be staggeringly expensive. Sprint doesn't have the money for a once-and-for-all fix, Son concedes, and SoftBank's covenants with banks prevent sinking more cash in.
    • Ominously, SoftBank has recently invested $1B in a handful of South and Southeast Asian start-ups, and plans to invest more than $10B in India alone.
    | Wed, Aug. 12, 11:07 AM | 37 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 11, 1:54 PM
    • Shenandoah Telecommunications (SHEN +21.2%) and NTELOS Holdings (NTLS +23%) are both up sharply in the wake of their news that Shentel is buying out NTELOS in a $640M deal.
    • In a conference call to discuss the deal, Shentel CEO Chris French pointed to a combined network that covers 4.3M points of presence and 1M subscribers, essentially doubling Shentel's POPs, revenue and OIBDA.
    • The deal's got mildly complicated terms as a three-way transaction ("win-win-win") with Shentel affiliate partner Sprint (NYSE:S), who will compensate Shentel to the tune of $252M in spectrum management fees (to be received in full within 5-6 years) and convert nTelos-brand customers to Sprint-branded, as well as take over NTELOS spectrum.
    • As for Sprint's coming to the table to make it happen: "I think it really came down to economics on both sides," said COO Earle MacKenzie. Sprint is "going to save the dollars that they spent or would be spending to buy the wholesale usage from nTelos and, you know, we were able to provide a network. We also were committed to spending additional capex there which will reduce their roaming expenses to others and provided a great return for our shareholders."
    • Shentel says it will complete a 4G LTE upgrade where NTELOS had a "good head start."
    • Meanwhile, FBR & Co. upgraded Shentel to Outperform, from Market Perform. The analysts raised the price target to $40, from $33; that's 10.9% upside from yesterday's close, though shares now trade at $43.70.
    • Previously: NTELOS up 20% on $640M buyout by Shentel (Aug. 10 2015)
    | Tue, Aug. 11, 1:54 PM | 2 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 11, 10:49 AM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) has become the latest big U.S. carrier to join in with free international calls and texts (to and from Canada, Mexico and several Latin American countries) via its new Open World SM plan.
    • The plan also features low-cost calling to other countries and 1 GB of free 3G data roaming in the "Open World" countries in the Americas.
    • The move brings Sprint's total roaming footprint to 34 countries. It becomes the second carrier to offer free roaming, after a similar move by T-Mobile.
    • Earlier this year, AT&T said it would offer unlimited calling from the U.S. to Mexico.
    • Sprint shares are up 1.2% and hit their highest point in a month so far today.
    | Tue, Aug. 11, 10:49 AM | 6 Comments
  • Mon, Aug. 10, 5:14 PM
    | Mon, Aug. 10, 5:14 PM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Aug. 10, 10:40 AM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) is climbing the roller coaster this morning, +12.1%, another in a set of choppy trading days for the wireless carrier after its fiscal Q1 earnings.
    • The company has rolled out its "Direct 2 You" house-call service in Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Boston.
    • Earlier this summer, the company started its home delivery/customer service offering in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver, as well as Dallas, Detroit, Tampa and Washington, D.C.
    | Mon, Aug. 10, 10:40 AM | 16 Comments
  • Thu, Aug. 6, 12:07 PM
    • In a unanimous vote, the FCC denied T-Mobile's (NYSE:TMUS) request for a larger spectrum set-aside during the government's wireless airwaves auction next year.
    • The carrier -- now the third-largest by customers in the U.S. -- had lobbied for a larger chunk of spectrum to be set aside for smaller carriers (i.e., not AT&T and Verizon) in the low-band auction, an area of the spectrum that the two giants dominate.
    • There will be a set-aside, just not the 40 MHz that T-Mobile was seeking, in what is seen as a compromise by the FCC's Democrats after last year's vote to establish reserve spectrum.
    • The FCC is working to keep the auction on track for the first quarter, and it's currently expected March 29. The agency is finalizing bidding procedures.
    • Wireless Carriers today: T -1.3%; VZ -0.5%; TMUS -0.5%; S +2.4%.
    | Thu, Aug. 6, 12:07 PM | 9 Comments
  • Thu, Aug. 6, 11:59 AM
    • In a choppy week after it posted earnings Tuesday, Sprint (NYSE:S) is back up 2.7% today as FBR Capital Markets upgrades it to Outperform, with an eye toward Sprint's Network Vision plans.
    • The firm maintains a $6 price target. Shares closed yesterday at $3.15 and are trading currently at $3.23.
    • "With Network Vision complete, we see a return to growth, profitability, and positive free cash flow," analyst David Dixon wrote.
    • "Despite management changes, SoftBank now makes all decisions and is fully engaged with the asset," he wrote. "On one hand, if [Masayoshi Son] remains deeply involved, he may succeed; on the other, if Masa micro-manages, it may become harder to execute ... We are backing Masa's high-risk, high-return network plan and back Marcelo Claure to execute well."
    • Previously: Sprint gives back post-earnings gain, -7.6% (Aug. 05 2015)
    • Previously: Sprint earnings call: Masa Son committed to turnaround (Aug. 04 2015)
    • Previously: Sprint up 11.9% premarket as it beats on EPS, boosts full-year guidance (Aug. 04 2015)
    | Thu, Aug. 6, 11:59 AM | 8 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 5, 12:21 PM
    • After a 4.8% gain yesterday following a star appearance by Chairman Masayoshi Son on its earnings call, Sprint (NYSE:S) is giving it back today, -7.6%, and facing straight talk in analysts' reactions.
    • William Blair reiterated its Underperform rating. Oppenheimer reiterated that rating as well.
    • Canaccord Genuity has cut its price target on Sprint to $3.75, from $5.
    • Shares closed yesterday at $3.49 and are currently trading at $3.22.
    • On the other hand, Cowen has moved its price target up to $4 -- implying 24% upside from current prices.
    • Related: Sprint (S) R. Marcelo Claure on Q1 2015 Results - Earnings Call Transcript (Aug. 04 2015)
    • Previously: Sprint earnings call: Masa Son committed to turnaround (Aug. 04 2015)
    • Previously: Sprint up 11.9% premarket as it beats on EPS, boosts full-year guidance (Aug. 04 2015)
    | Wed, Aug. 5, 12:21 PM | 10 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 4, 7:26 PM
    • Major U.S. telecoms are reporting widespread phone outages in the Midwest and Southeast, for both wireless and wireline service.
    • The outages seem centered in Kentucky, Indiana, Alabama and Tennessee, but they affect customers of AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS). All four of those carriers acknowledged the outages on Twitter accounts.
    • AT&T suggested that the problem has been pinpointed to a hardware issue and that engineers are working with vendors to restore service.
    | Tue, Aug. 4, 7:26 PM | 15 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 4, 5:30 PM
  • Tue, Aug. 4, 11:23 AM
    • On Sprint's (S +6%) earnings call this morning, SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) chief Masayoshi Son joined in to reiterate his commitment to the struggling carrier.
    • "I'm extremely excited about the turnaround of Sprint," he said. "I don't want to sell the company. I think Sprint is going to be a very good company, of which I will be very proud."
    • As anticipated, Sprint fell behind T-Mobile in total users and dropped into fourth place among U.S. networks, but boosted its outlook for 2015 and detailed how it would pursue "densification" of its network with the help of both macro and small cells.
    • "Japan has the best network in the world,” Son said. “To me, every time I come (to the U.S.) ... I say this network is not something you should be proud of. It’s actually really bad. It's not just Sprint; all networks are pretty bad. You have invented Internet; you have invented telephones ... but the network is not something that you should be proud of." He's working "with my engineers, every night" on Sprint's network design.
    • That affects any plan like creating a competitive alternative to a video service like Verizon's upcoming Go90 service. "How would a customer benefit from a video bundle?" Son asked. "The network's congested, very badly; before you talk about video bundle, all of the four carriers have to cure the issue of congestion."
    • "What Verizon is trying to do is what mobile providers have tried ... the track record of success of carriers around the world trying to bring these solutions has not been stellar," said CEO Marcelo Claure, noting any action Sprint takes there is likely to be through partnerships rather than buying assets.
    • Claure noted the record low churn was broad-based: "What's nice is every single churn measure we do, we're coming down. The network experience is better, customer experience is better."
    • Previously: Sprint up 11.9% premarket as it beats on EPS, boosts full-year guidance (Aug. 04 2015)
    • Previously: Sprint reports FQ1 results (Aug. 04 2015)
    • Previously: Sprint earnings: Management shakeup draws focus (Aug. 03 2015)
    | Tue, Aug. 4, 11:23 AM | 28 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.