Tue, Aug. 4, 9:12 AM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) is up 11.9% premarket after posting a loss well better than expected and boosting its outlook for 2015 earnings amid record low postpaid churn.
- EPS of -$0.01 beat an expected -$0.06. Adjusted EBITDA of $2.1B beat an expected $1.82B. Revenue breakout: Service revenue, $7.04B (down 8.4%); Equipment revenue, $990M (down 10.5%).
- Postpaid net adds of 310K subscribers. Postpaid phone losses were 12K customers, but the company pointed to net adds in May and June. Prepaid net losses of 366K were better than a year-ago loss of 542K (mainly driven by Assurance brand). Wholesale net adds of 731K driven by connected devices.
- Sprint platform postpaid churn was a record low 1.56% (down from a prior-year 2.05%). Sprint platform postpaid average billing per user was $61.67, down 3% Y/Y, and average billing per account was $164.63, up 2%.
- Sprint is pursuing significant densification of its network including "additional macro cell sites, deployment of tens of thousands of small cells, and further expansion of the 2.5 GHz spectrum across the company's existing sites."
- For the full year, the company now sees EBITDA of $7.2B-$7.6B, up from its previous $6.5B-$6.9B and well over an expected $6.76B.
- Press release
Tue, Aug. 4, 7:38 AM
Mon, Aug. 3, 6:25 PM
- ProShares is shuttering its UltraShort Telecommunications ETF (TLL -5.7%), the fund that bets against big telecoms like AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), due to lack of interest.
- The fund -- a double-short fund working on the inverse of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Telecommunications Index -- will close after the market on Sept. 14. Trading had slowed to about 100 shares on average.
- Top components of Dow Jones' telecom index that the fund bet against are AT&T, Verizon, SBA Communications (NASDAQ:SBAC), Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT), CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL), T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS), Frontier (NASDAQ:FTR) and Sprint (NYSE:S).
- TLL was down 7.6% over the past six months. The iShares U.S. Telecommunications ETF (NYSEARCA:IYZ) -- tracking the same index from the other direction -- is down 0.5% YTD.
Mon, Aug. 3, 5:05 PM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) has moved up 2.7% after hours on news that CFO Joseph Euteneuer has resigned his position. Tarek Robbiati has been named its new CFO.
- In addition, Gunther Ottendorfer will join the company as COO, Technology, and John Saw has been promoted to chief technology officer, reporting to Ottendorfer.
- Robbiati most recently was CEO and managing director at Australian consumer finance company FlexiGroup.
- Ottendorfer was previously CTO at Telekom Austria and has more than 25 years of experience leading global tech teams. He joins Sprint effectively immediately, reporting to CEO Marcelo Claure.
Wed, Jul. 29, 1:07 PM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) is leading major U.S. telecom gainers for a second day, +5.9%, as it rolls out a new family plan in response to a family-plan price cut from T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS)
- Switchers to Sprint are being offered four lines with unlimited talk/text and 10 GB of high-speed data for $100/month, which it says will save families $480/year over Verizon's comparable plan, and $720/year over AT&T's.
- For data burners, Sprint says families can choose a 40 GB plan for $20 more per month. It continues to offer paying off old phones/contracts to enable switchers.
- Sprint's now up 12.2% over the past two days in coming off a 52-week low on Monday.
- Previously: Sprint and T-Mobile: Who's No. 3 (round two) (Jul. 28 2015)
- Previously: Sprint rebounds, +6.8% off 52-week lows (Jul. 28 2015)
- Previously: T-Mobile cuts price, increases data on family plans (Jul. 14 2015)
Tue, Jul. 28, 10:06 PM
- Another quarter of telecom earnings, and another quarter where analysts figure that Sprint (NYSE:S) will be overtaken by T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) in total customers to take the No. 3 spot among U.S. wireless providers.
- Last quarter, T-Mobile effectively captured all of the industry's subscriber growth, but Sprint held the No. 3 position, 57.1M customers to 56.8M, despite shedding some core postpaid phone subscribers.
- Now, analysts expect heat (and perhaps more Twitterfights) as they predict that T-Mobile may have finally taken the lead in the quarter ended June 30.
- GSMA Intelligence is expecting T-Mobile to report 58.9M customers to Sprint's 58.3M connections, when Sprint releases its final numbers Aug. 4.
- "It almost has a psychological significance that trumps the practical significance," says IDC's John Jackson.
- T-Mobile reports Thursday, and consensus estimates have it reporting $0.22/share in earnings on $7.96B in revenues and $1.77B in EBITDA. Sprint reports Aug. 4, and consensus estimates have it posting a loss of $0.05/share on $8.33B in revenues and $1.82B EBITDA.
Tue, Jul. 28, 5:47 PM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) closed today up 6.8% on heavier-than-average daily share volume, as buyers took advantage of yesterday's 52-week low.
- Today's move up cuts what were substantial losses for the shares over the past week -- now to -13.8% over the past five days.
- Yesterday, Strategy Analytics analyst Roger Lanctot pointed a finger at Sprint, as a famously (and frighteningly) hacked Jeep vehicle ran on Sprint's Velocity telematics platform. Lanctot suggested Fiat Chrysler was taking the fall for security that should have been implemented by Sprint at the network level.
- In a statement, Sprint says: "This matter was related to software in certain vehicles equipped with 8.4-inch touchscreens and not to Sprint, the carrier providing connectivity to the touchscreens ... At the automaker's direction, we provided assistance by developing and implementing a network-level measure to prevent unauthorized remote network access to the software in the touchscreens."
- A blog post from Sprint Chief Network Officer John Saw noted that "Sprint’s network is built to support an open Internet for its customers, developers and device manufacturers. By 'open' we mean that we do not block lawful Internet traffic or protocols. We do not restrict access to applications and content, nor do we prioritize one content provider’s traffic over another."
- The question for investors going forward is who will end up forced to shoulder more responsibility for security in an area as new as vehicle telematics -- and how much happens at the network level vs. the device level. Fiat Chrysler is implementing the fix via USB device rather than any over-the-air update.
- "We think Sprint's legal exposure is very low in the incidents," writes Elevation analyst Stephen Sweeney, "and not many investors were ascribing much value at all to begin with for Sprint's telematics business."
Mon, Jul. 27, 12:03 PM
- Sprint (S -8.5%) has the "dubious distinction" of being the first wireless carrier implicated in an automobile hack, says automotive analyst Roger Lanctot.
- Fiat Chrysler is taking the fall, he writes, for "Sprint’s failure to properly secure its network and the Jeep in question – which was subjected to some comical and terrifying remote control in real-time on the highway thanks to an IP address vulnerability."
- The hack is bad news for Fiat Chrysler, he notes, as the company deals with a record fine over safety practices -- but it might also mean a "fatal" blow for Sprint's Velocity telematics platform.
- Sprint's looking to sell Velocity, he says, which might be seen as damaged goods after a very damaging story.
- Previously: Hacking demo leads to recall of 1.4M Fiat Chrysler vehicles (Jul. 24 2015)
Fri, Jul. 24, 1:58 PM
- A measured slide during the day has brought Sprint (NYSE:S) shares down 8.6%, to $3.36. The stock is the biggest decliner among telecoms.
- Jefferies yesterday cut its price target to $3 on worries about the company's cash position and spending.
- Short interest has been building in the stock -- from about 62M shares short in March to more than 103M shares short at June's end, almost 13% of float.
- AT&T and Verizon reported earnings this week; T-Mobile follows on July 30 and Sprint on Aug. 5.
- Formal FCC approval of AT&T's $49B purchase of DirecTV is expected today.
Thu, Jul. 23, 10:09 AM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) is down 1.8% as Jefferies' Mike McCormack cuts the firm's price target on the shares to $3, from $4, with cash burn worries back at the fore: "Industry-high leverage, negative FCF generation" and even the need to take part in the broadcast incentive spectrum auction.
- Jefferies maintains an Underperform rating. Shares closed yesterday at $3.81 and are currently trading at $3.76.
- Lease plan accounting may be papering over cash issues, McCormack writes: "After adjusting for secondary channel capitalized handset costs, we estimate that Sprint will use nearly ~$1.1bn of cash before capital expenditures in FY15."
- The carrier's guidance calls for full-year EBITDA growth of 12%, but adjusting for lease plan accounting, it may be more like an 18% decline, he says.
- On the technical side, Sprint's network densification project looks like a "stop-gap measure" and Sprint will need to look at additional low-band or mid-band spectrum.
Mon, Jul. 20, 3:25 PM
- The FCC is pointing to March 29 -- very late in Chairman Tom Wheeler's Q1 2016 target -- to begin its incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast airwaves, according to a list of agenda items it's circulating.
- Observers had worried that a postponement of voting on auction rules until Aug. 6 would endanger the Q1 plan. The FCC had delayed the final vote so that stakeholders could submit filings on the rules, with the "duplex gap" a particular point of contention.
- The exact start date is still subject to change before the final FCC vote.
- Spectrum players: VZ, T, TMUS, S, DISH, SBGI, EVC
- Previously: FCC delays rules vote for broadcast spectrum auction (Jul. 15 2015)
Thu, Jul. 16, 3:57 PM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) has jumped this hour, up 3.7%, on talk that a discussed merger between Dish Network and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) is stalling out on concerns about valuation and structure, Bloomberg is saying.
- A plan to merge Sprint and T-Mobile had faded last year on regulatory concerns, and since then T-Mobile has been linked to a number of players in the industry.
- Many Sprint investors are calling for a new look at a Sprint/T-Mobile merger, considering the gap between the two and U.S. industry leaders AT&T and Verizon.
- Previously: Dish slips 3%: FCC set to reject discounts, T-Mobile merger stalling (Jul. 16 2015)
- Previously: T-Mobile and Dish Network: Other options, other suitors (Jun. 12 2015)
Wed, Jul. 15, 8:44 PM
- Cricket Wireless (NYSE:T) looks ready to launch a mobile hotspot product, for $10/month added on to plans that cost $50 and up, according to a page on its site seen by FierceWireless.
- Cricket currently prohibits tethering in its terms of service. It offers four main service plans ranging from $25 to $60 per month, with the top plan featuring 10 GB of LTE data.
- A Cricket move in this area would follow Boost Mobile's launch yesterday of its first hotspot plans. The Sprint (NYSE:S) unit is pairing a $50 device with no-contract payments of $25/month (1.5 GB of 4G data) or $50/month (10 GB). Meanwhile, Sprint's Virgin Mobile USA charges $3/day for tethering 500 MB of combined 3G/4G access.
- Previously: Sprint bounces, +8% today off 52-week lows (Jul. 14 2015)
Wed, Jul. 15, 5:38 PM
- Under congressional pressure, the FCC is delaying tomorrow's vote on rules -- including the contentious issue of set-asides -- for the upcoming broadcast incentive spectrum auction until Aug. 6.
- "I believe that even with this delay we will be able to stay on course for the first quarter of 2016," Chairman Tom Wheeler says about the pushback.
- A few House Republicans pressed for a delay after a late-Friday release of data covering potential outcomes around repacking the "duplex gap" -- an about-to-be-crowded frequency band that FCC staff chose last year to dedicate to Wi-Fi and unlicensed uses as well as licensed broadcast news mics, but recently reversed position on.
- The delay seems to have made no stakeholder very happy. The move also means that settling the issue of reserve spectrum (Smaller carriers than AT&T and Verizon have urged a bigger reserve than the current 30 MHz planned).
- Spectrum players: VZ, T, TMUS, S, DISH
Tue, Jul. 14, 3:09 PM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) is coming off yesterday's 52-week low, up 8% and back to $4.00, its strongest point of the day. The stock is pacing gainers in telecom.
- The carrier has expanded its house-call "Direct 2 You" service to Dallas; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; and Tampa, as well as surrounding areas. So far, so good with a service that must be costly to provide; Sprint says it will keep adding cities throughout the year.
- Meanwhile, its prepaid unit Boost Mobile has rolled out its first Wi-Fi hotspot plans with a $50 Netgear device meant to be paired with no-contract payments of $25/month for 1.5 gigabytes of 4G data, or $50/month for 10 gigabytes.
Fri, Jul. 10, 2:43 PM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) is down 2.2%, and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) up 0.6%, as Stifel Nicolaus launches new coverage on the U.S. wireless sector and rates both stocks at Hold.
- Analyst John Karidis says T-Mobile faces uncertainty in acquiring low-band spectrum (and the company has been vocal about pressing for bigger airwave reserves in the upcoming broadcast incentive auction), and a threat from the bigger carriers pushing for mobile video service.
- In the case of Sprint, though, he lacks confidence the firm can increase its value regardless of its relative spectrum wealth, and that it's "markedly tougher" to forecast free cash flow because of the difficulty of figuring profit and cash timing. He does note minority shareholders "are too battle hardened to give up on the stock at this price."
- Sprint is trading today at $3.82 after hitting a 52-week low of $3.74; T-Mobile is at $39.01, off a 52-week high of $40.77.
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