Sprint Corporation
 (S)

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  • Sep. 22, 2015, 12:46 PM
    • Traffic checks of U.S. wireless carriers by Pacific Crest's Michael Bowen show slowness for the leaders and some momentum for challengers.
    • Verizon (VZ -1%) was "slow" and AT&T (T -0.9%) "somewhat weak" in the past month heading into a key iPhone announcement. Verizon saw a lower amount of pre-orders for the iPhone and was coming off a data plan re-sizing; AT&T is lower-key about pushing phone upgrades, though tablet promotions are going well and customers are responding to DirecTV bundles.
    • Meanwhile, promotions are bearing fruit at T-Mobile (TMUS -1.9%) and Sprint (S -1%). T-Mobile traffic was "strong," Bowen says, with employees optimistic about iPhone pre-orders and new financing plans. Meanwhile, most Sprint stores met or beat August goals and expect the same for September, as the "iPhone forever" leasing plan is showing strong demand.
    | Sep. 22, 2015, 12:46 PM | 31 Comments
  • Sep. 18, 2015, 4:56 PM
    | Sep. 18, 2015, 4:56 PM | 4 Comments
  • Sep. 17, 2015, 6:53 PM
    • Speaking at Communacopia, CEO Marcelo Claure says one clear sign that a turnaround is taking hold at Sprint (NYSE:S) is that the firm has added postpaid handset subscribers for four months straight, the first time in 40 months that it's managed such a string.
    • He's also softening the timeline a bit for network improvement, now saying he wants Sprint's network ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in 80% of major markets by the end of 2017.
    • "I think from a network perspective we're getting better dramatically," he said, noting that its network, pricing and new handset leasing approach should help churn continue to improve.
    • "Virtually all" of Sprint's macro cell sites are going to be upgraded to support 800 MHz, 1900 MHz and 2.5 GHz for LTE, he said, and the company will deploy thousands of new macro sites and tens of thousands of small cells.
    • He added a decision is coming in the next few weeks about whether Sprint will take part in the broadcast incentive auction for 600 MHz spectrum.
    | Sep. 17, 2015, 6:53 PM | 14 Comments
  • Sep. 16, 2015, 12:06 PM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) is down 5.2%, with its bondholders kneecapped by a Moody's credit-rating cut that has slashed more than $1.5B from the bonds.
    • The rating cut -- to B3 from B1, six notches below investment grade -- came due to "brutal competition" in U.S. wireless, and skepticism about Sprint's ability to refinance a $12B debt pile coming due over the next five years.
    • "The negative outlook reflects our belief that Sprint is going to need significant additional funding," Moody's wrote. "It remains uncertain whether or not the capital markets will be receptive to additional funding."
    • The company's 7.875% notes due 2023 have fallen to 90.75 cents on the dollar, from 98.6 cents at the week's start.
    | Sep. 16, 2015, 12:06 PM | 25 Comments
  • Sep. 11, 2015, 2:09 PM
    | Sep. 11, 2015, 2:09 PM | 31 Comments
  • Sep. 10, 2015, 3:20 PM
    • Aside from the usual feature hype of Apple's new iPhones, it's the company's new financing plans that throw an interesting wrinkle at service providers, who have usually financed phones -- and some analysts figure T-Mobile (TMUS +0.6%) and Sprint (S -1.2%) have an edge with the new arrangement.
    • Wells Fargo's Jennifer Fritzsche notes the two have cheaper ways of getting the phone: T-Mobile's monthly offering of $20-$24/month, even with optional insurance of $8/month, still beats Apple's cheapest $32/month by $4. Meanwhile, Sprint's 24-month "iPhone forever" offering is $22/month (or even cheaper, $15/month, for those jumping this year).
    • The carriers have more comprehensive insurance as well, since AppleCare doesn't cover lost or stolen phones.
    • Switching carriers gets easier with Apple's new approach, to which leaders AT&T (T -0.1%) and Verizon (VZ +0.1%) are most vulnerable, she says. “However, we note that the vast majority (90%+) of T and VZ’s customer base is on corporate or family plans, which tend to be the stickiest customers.”
    • Meanwhile, at T-Mobile, John Legere is now pushing a "lifetime coverage guarantee" that offers refunds for device payments for unhappy iPhone 6s and 6s Plus buyers who use the carrier's Jump On Demand device plan, along with getting an unlocked device.
    • Previously: Sprint up 3.4% as it introduces plan to upgrade iPhones anytime (Aug. 17 2015)
    | Sep. 10, 2015, 3:20 PM | 19 Comments
  • Sep. 1, 2015, 2:05 PM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) says it's investing $150M in Chicago by the end of 2016, nearly doubling its headcount there with more than 750 new jobs and up to $250M of network spend across Chicagoland over the next two years.
    • Chicago will be the first Sprint city to see deployment of LTE-Advanced.
    • The new jobs -- building on the existing "Sprint for Chicago" initiative to improve customer service, which promised 300 new jobs in March -- include retail positions, wireless experts for the company's house-call "Direct 2 You" service, and network techs and engineers.
    • Meanwhile, boosted by continuing SoftBank support, Sprint shares are bucking today's sharply lower market, up 0.5% while the S&P 500 is down 2.5%.
    | Sep. 1, 2015, 2:05 PM | 14 Comments
  • Aug. 31, 2015, 5:04 PM
    | Aug. 31, 2015, 5:04 PM | 8 Comments
  • Aug. 27, 2015, 3:11 PM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) is giving up some of today's gains, now +3.3%, after news of its latest promotion: "Celebrating" the merger of AT&T (NYSE:T) and DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) by offering a year of free phone service to DTV customers who switch.
    • The deal will be offered starting tomorrow through September's end. DirecTV customers who switch to Sprint -- or some existing customers adding lines or phones -- will get 12 months unlimited talk/text and 2 GB of data per line, up to five lines.
    • The existing customers would need to add a new line through Sprint Lease, iPhone Forever, Sprint Easy Pay or pay full retail price for a new smartphone.
    • Customers would be migrated to the comparable paid plan after the year was up.
    • Updated: "This ranks right up there with a desperate Hail Mary pass to a petite defensive lineman," said an AT&T spokesperson (in a Super Bowl allusion?). "With Sprint's network and the many asterisks on this deal, we're feeling good about our offers."
    | Aug. 27, 2015, 3:11 PM | 73 Comments
  • Aug. 20, 2015, 7:29 PM
    • At least one end result of media consolidation will be all of the big four wireless firms linking up (via merger or alliances) with pay TV, says Oppenheimer's Tim Horan, with a prediction for the four survivors: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint -- and Comcast.
    • "Regardless of the timing, we expect all four wireless carriers to align with a paid TV provider in some form," Horan says. He writes that Oppenheimer sees Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) aligning somehow, though Comcast denied interest in outright acquiring the carrier in June.
    • Comcast's hand might be forced by AT&T's (NYSE:T) plans for product bundling now that it's closed on DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV). Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR) -- currently busy trying to acquire Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) -- could deal for wireless as well, as it expands its public Wi-Fi.
    • Horan also thinks that Verizon (NYSE:VZ) might be the only real buyer for Dish Network's (NASDAQ:DISH) spectrum haul, which might come on the block after the FCC denied Dish $3.3B in spectrum-auction discounts. Oppenheimer sees only a 10% chance that Dish buys T-Mobile.
    • SoftBank had explored a sale of Sprint (NYSE:S) to TV providers including Comcast and Altice, unsuccessfully, and a potential merger with T-Mobile is considered at least as far off as the 2016 presidential election.
    | Aug. 20, 2015, 7:29 PM | 21 Comments
  • Aug. 18, 2015, 8:14 PM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) started the day strong and ended even stronger, +5.8%, in the wake of another share purchase by parent SoftBank.
    • Sprint's also making a high-profile move away from contracts and phone sales, and analyst Craig Moffett -- known for being a skeptic on Sprint's cash burn performance -- said today the carrier's switch to a leasing model is "an accounting change, and unfortunately it is exaggerating revenue and EBITDA."
    • He's got Sprint rated at Sell, with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile rated at Neutral.
    • "From the consumer's perspective, this is all much ado about nothing," Moffett said of the lease model. "You used to pay about $20 more per month in your service plan in return for getting the phone; now you pay about $20/month for the phone itself."
    • From the carrier's perspective, there's a huge difference in accounting, though, and "unfortunately, it has distorted the accounting for the whole sector. Because as you do the sale of phones, it accelerates revenue, and therefore accelerates EBITDA and earnings ... all the companies are now reporting inflated revenues ... and inflated profitability."
    • Sprint's gone one step further, he says, by leasing the phones and "taking the cost of the phones off the income statement entirely, move it to the balance sheet and that further inflates earnings. So Sprint is getting 50% of its EBITDA right now from accounting changes."
    • Meanwhile, CEO Marcelo Claure and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) CEO John Legere are mixing it up on Twitter again, this time arguing about a RootMetrics survey that put Sprint in third place in overall performance, ahead of T-Mobile.
    • Previously: Sprint's Claure to T-Mobile's Legere: Tired of 'Uncarrier bullshit' (Jul. 02 2015)
    | Aug. 18, 2015, 8:14 PM | 12 Comments
  • Aug. 18, 2015, 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.
    | Aug. 18, 2015, 7:54 PM | 6 Comments
  • Aug. 18, 2015, 9:54 AM
    | Aug. 18, 2015, 9:54 AM | 9 Comments
  • Aug. 17, 2015, 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.
    | Aug. 17, 2015, 4:53 PM | 17 Comments
  • Aug. 17, 2015, 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.
    | Aug. 17, 2015, 9:41 AM | 16 Comments
  • Aug. 12, 2015, 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)
    | Aug. 12, 2015, 11:25 PM | 26 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.