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  • Fri, Apr. 15, 3:45 PM
    • "Investors should ignore all of the issues around EIP and handset lease plans and the vehicles that have been set up to finance these," says New Street Research as it looks ahead to Sprint (S +3.3%) earnings coming April 26.
    • Instead, stakeholders should see a closing window for the struggling carrier and focus on ARPU, churn, and share of gross adds it attained. Sprint shares got a pickup yesterday as a tweet from CEO Marcelo Claure spurred chatter that T-Mobile might not be the only one with postpaid phone growth.
    • New Street says Sprint will need 25% of industry gross adds for three years to offset its repricing. And promotion-driven ARPU gains that it expects of $0.69 (to $59 for the quarter) would still bean a 7.5% Y/Y decline in ARPU.
    • One silver lining: The firm says it's "leery" of shorting the stock, considering the value of spectrum holdings.
    • Now read Sprint's Spectrum Is Worth A Premium, Not A Discount »
    | Fri, Apr. 15, 3:45 PM | 33 Comments
  • Thu, Apr. 14, 1:13 PM
    • A take from Wells Fargo that T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) was again set to grab all the industry's postpaid phone growth drew a seemingly skeptical response from Sprint (NYSE:S) chief Marcelo Claure.
    • "Hmm??" he tweeted, with a link to Wells' position. Sprint shares have gained 2.6% as some observers wonder whether that means Sprint's adding phones for Q1 as well.
    • Citi expects the company may have added net phones in Q1 and is likely to maintain or even improve gross adds Q/Q. T-Mobile, though, will keep increasing share as it has, Citi believes, with phone net adds of 775,000 (that, vs. Wells' estimate that T-Mobile added a net 768,000 handsets).
    • Now read Seeking Alpha's Market Challenge: Connecting With Telecom »
    | Thu, Apr. 14, 1:13 PM | 15 Comments
  • Wed, Apr. 13, 11:05 AM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) is off 2.4% after a downgrade from Pacific Crest Securities, which considers it a "tactical short" ahead of earnings.
    • The firm downgraded Sprint to Underweight from Sector Weight, and cut its price target to $2.18 from $3.49. Shares have declined to $3.40, 37% below their 52-week high.
    • The company, which has extended a costly 50%-off competitive promotion for months, is reduced to competing on price vs. its bigger competitors, analyst Michael Bowen says in awaiting worse-than-expected subscriber adds and churn.
    • “Sprint’s lack of competitive tools other than price suggests fundamental issues," he writes. "If 50% off isn’t working, what will? We recommend investors take cover into Sprint’s fiscal Q4 earnings, and we would be selling shares.”
    • Sprint is set to report earnings before the open on April 26.
    • Now read Sprint's Spectrum Is Worth A Premium, Not A Discount »
    | Wed, Apr. 13, 11:05 AM | 31 Comments
  • Mon, Apr. 11, 11:11 AM
    • Sprint's (S -0.9%) debt situation doesn't look good, but it's even worse than that, say Bloomberg's Shira Ovide and Lisa Abramowicz: Bondholders were briefly aware of the risks but seem to have stopped pricing in the dangers.
    • Bonds have recovered from a fall decline, up about 8% since the end of January. But balance sheet debt doesn't allow for an upcoming accounting rules change that would push Sprint's total debt to $50.9B from $34B, according to Craig Moffett's calculations.
    • Lease payments for wireless towers that will need to be put on balance sheets are Sprint's "hidden debt bomb," they say, even if the rule change doesn't arrive until 2019 -- the obligation will still be there then, they note.
    • Adjusting for a higher debt and a a hit to EBITDA from industry shifts to equipment installments means Sprint's leverage nearly doubles, to 7.9 times EBITDA.
    • Those hoping for more rescues from SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son might be disappointed with his commitment level to a "broken toy," they say: “I’m a busy guy,” he said last year; “Why should I even concentrate on the U.S. market when the situation does not look good?”
    • Now read Sprint's Spectrum Is Worth A Premium, Not A Discount »
    | Mon, Apr. 11, 11:11 AM | 22 Comments
  • Fri, Apr. 1, 1:51 PM
    • Sprint (S +2.9%) has added a couple of new faces to leadership, and they're former Verizonites.
    • The company named Pat Devlin as president of the Northeast Area -- one of four regional units that the company reorganized its sales into -- and named Mariano Legaz the company's chief procurement officer.
    • Devlin was formerly Verizon's New York metro regional president; he'll report directly to CEO Marcelo Claure.
    • Legaz was previously Verizon's Florida regional president. He'll report to CFO Tarek Robbiati.
    • With the move, Sprint has named three of its four area presidents, leaving just the West to fill. Devlin is taking over the Northeast; Jamie Jones was named president of the South; and Kevin Crull president of Central. The company has also named almost all of its regional presidents (reporting into the area structure).
    • Now read Sprint's Spectrum Is Worth A Premium, Not A Discount »
    | Fri, Apr. 1, 1:51 PM | 57 Comments
  • Mon, Mar. 28, 6:27 PM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) felt a regional voice and data outage today in the highly populated Northeast.
    • Twitter filled up with customer complaints Monday morning and the company acknowledged a service outage in "parts of the Northeast." it seemed concentrated on southern New Hampshire to southern New Jersey, with other problems occurring in northern Texas and the Chicago area.
    • The company said service levels had returned to normal in a tweet a few minutes before the market close.
    • Bad timing for the company, which on Friday introduced a 30-day 100% satisfaction guarantee designed to get customers to test the country's "fastest LTE network." Sprint's LTE Plus uses its triband spectrum portfolio for a richer experience in more than 150 markets, the company says.
    • Shares are up 0.3% after hours.
    | Mon, Mar. 28, 6:27 PM | 22 Comments
  • Thu, Mar. 24, 6:49 PM
    • Amid chatter that AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) have throttled Netflix video quality down, Netflix itself has admitted for the first time that it's the one doing the limiting.
    • Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) says it restricts video quality on those two and on most carriers worldwide, in order to protect its customers from busting through their data caps -- which could be expensive, and discourage viewing more Netflix.
    • The company is capping streams at 600 kbps -- well within speed capacities of most wireless networks -- in part because a two-hour movie in HD can consumer an entire month's data allowance. The company says it's working on its own "mobile data saver" to let consumers optimize Netflix against their available bandwidth.
    • Netflix doesn't throttle videos at T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) and Sprint (NYSE:S), due to "more consumer-friendly policies" on data overages (i.e., lower speed rather than expensive charges). It was a comment from T-Mobile chief John Legere about lower-quality video at Verizon and AT&T that launched the discussion; and T-Mobile's "Binge On" offering exempts video from customers' data caps, but reduces its quality to 480p (promised "DVD or better" quality).
    | Thu, Mar. 24, 6:49 PM | 103 Comments
  • Thu, Mar. 24, 6:07 PM
    • T-Mobile (TMUS -0.2%) faces limited organic growth in the future as it runs into capacity challenges, FBR notes in launching coverage of the stock at Market Perform.
    • Analysts David Dixon and Mike He set a price target of $40, implying just 8.1% upside from today's close of $37. TMUS is up 11.7% over the past 12 months, but is down 5.4% so far for 2016.
    • T-Mobile's network is set for near-term needs, and it should be an active player in the 600 MHz broadcast spectrum auction, but "expect BingeOn elasticity and the addition of low-band coverage spectrum to create a 4x multiplier increase for capacity demand."
    • Meanwhile, dramatically improving Sprint (S +3.8%) could gain momentum with low-cost capacity additions, they say: "We believe a resurgent Sprint could potentially overtake T-Mobile. If our view proves to be correct, we believe a stronger Sprint could make a successful attempt to acquire a potentially weakened T-Mobile under a new FCC administration."
    | Thu, Mar. 24, 6:07 PM | 10 Comments
  • Thu, Mar. 10, 3:39 PM
    • As it gets ready for 5G networking, Sprint (S -5.4%) will focus on small cells using its 2.5 GHz spectrum to pursue improvements, its chief financial officer says.
    • Speaking to the Deutsche Bank conference, CFO Tarek Robbiati says Sprint doesn't have enough towers densify enough without leveraging its 2.5 GHz airwaves, "the most efficient spectrum for high-capacity networks."
    • Read through competitor literature, he says, and they're pursuing spectrum "almost in microwave territory," because of its efficiency in moving large amounts of traffic.
    • The catch is that those frequencies don't propagate far, calling for more cell sites and therefore small cells in addition to macrosites.
    • "There are simply not enough tower sites in the country to do what we intend to do," he said. "... You need to think differently."
    • Previously: Softbank will bid in the upcoming spectrum auction - sources (Mar. 10 2016)
    • Previously: Sprint on rise after news of SoftBank company split (Mar. 07 2016)
    | Thu, Mar. 10, 3:39 PM | 109 Comments
  • Thu, Mar. 10, 3:23 PM
    • The FCC has launched a proposal on data privacy that doesn't ban data collection practices, but does require a broad opt-in from consumers.
    • The agency's plan, in the works since it reclassified many providers under net neutrality regulation last year, calls for consumer consent -- many broadband providers collect data without consent -- and for them to disclose their data collection, work to protect personal information and report data breaches.
    • The move stops largely at Internet providers and doesn't extend to sites with broad consumer data collections, including Twitter, Google or Facebook.
    • The move comes a few days after Verizon (NYSE:VZ) settled an FCC privacy probe by agreeing to get consumer consent and pay $1.35M, an amount that suggests the FCC is more concerned about the opt-in than about data collection in general.
    • The proposal goes to an initial March 31 open meeting vote.
    • FCC fact sheet
    • Related tickers: T, VZ, TMUS, S, CMCSA, CHTR, TWC, CVC, CTL, FTR, CCOI, DISH
    • Previously: Verizon paying $1.35M, allowing data opt-outs in privacy probe (Mar. 07 2016)
    | Thu, Mar. 10, 3:23 PM | 15 Comments
  • Thu, Mar. 10, 7:01 AM
    • Sources say SoftBank is rumored to be participating in the upcoming auction of broadcast spectrum to wireless carriers.
    • SoftBank might acquire the spectrum by setting up a new company, which later sells or swaps it as it sees fit.
    • SoftBank said on March 7 it would split into two companies, one managing SoftBank’s Japanese media and telecom businesses, and one managing overseas operations like Sprint and Alibaba. It's unclear if either of these companies or another entity would purchase spectrum.
    • The move could be a way to acquire low bandwidth spectrum for Sprint (NYSE:S),  which lags competitors in ownership of lower bandwidth spectrum.
    • Source: CTFN
    | Thu, Mar. 10, 7:01 AM | 41 Comments
  • Mon, Mar. 7, 11:50 AM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) is up 5.9% today in the wake of a reorganization plan from its parent, SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY +3.6%).
    • The move to separate into two firms, domestic and international, puts SoftBank's ownership of Sprint into the side with its holdings of Alibaba among overseas operations. That's the side that Nikesh Arora (heir apparent to SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son) will run.
    • The domestic side, run by Ken Miyauchi, will cover the domestic mobile business, including the company's investment in Yahoo Japan. Son will remain in control of both companies.
    • While domestic mobile profits have helped fund efforts to turn around Sprint, the reorg is largely internal, since SoftBank will be the single listed company and earnings won't be separated out among the two.
    • With a reorg in place, eyes now turn to whether SoftBank will take a writedown on its $21.6B acquisition of the Sprint stake.
    • Last week, details emerged about a network-leasing financing scheme at SoftBank that will inject some $3B-$5B of capital into Sprint with wireless equipment and spectrum as collateral.
    • Previously: Laden with debt, Sprint turning to spectrum (and SoftBank) to secure cash (Mar. 02 2016)
    | Mon, Mar. 7, 11:50 AM | 43 Comments
  • Fri, Mar. 4, 4:07 PM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) has launched another of what have been a plentiful set of promotions -- this time for its prepaid Boost Mobile brand.
    • The deal is for (you guessed it) up to half off switchers' current monthly payment. In Boost's new family plans, two lines start at $60/month for those picking 10 GB of high-speed data per line. The service comes with unlimited talk, text and 2G data.
    • The deal has to be completed at a Boost dealer, though, and has to be a valid number porting in from its competitors in the Big Four. Boost is also offering a free phone or $50 device discount for each line ported.
    • Shares that were up as much as 4.8% on the day tumbled in the last hour on heavy volume, dropping it to a 4.5% loss. They're still up 35% over the past month.
    | Fri, Mar. 4, 4:07 PM | 29 Comments
  • Wed, Mar. 2, 7:35 PM
    • Sprint's (S +7.9%) latest plan to revive a flagging business? A network-leasing unit at owner SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY), which would supply the carrier with loans collateralized by wireless equipment -- and some of its spectrum rights.
    • That's the "crown jewel," and SoftBank had already previously set up a unit to buy (and lease back) Sprint's phone inventory for $1.2B.
    • The spectrum rights (estimated at north of $115B in value) aren't going anywhere, but Sprint will pursue $3B-$5B from related loans this year. That's against $34B in debt, more than twice Sprint's market value.
    • Sprint has elected to sit out the upcoming FCC broadcast incentive auction for airwaves. But then it's in a cash crunch, and already sitting on the biggest piece of 2.5 GHz spectrum in the country. So far, ambitions to apply that to creating the fastest wireless network are unrealized.
    • Drawing some billions from its spectrum is getting closer to a last resort as Sprint buys time for a network turnaround. “I don’t think Sprint will go belly-up. Masa would probably be there to bail them out,” says Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner. “But it shows what kind of bind Sprint is in, when you have to collateralize the plates and silverware.”
    • Shares in Sprint closed at a 2016 high today, and are up 35% over the past month.
    • Related: Sprint's Spectrum Is Worth A Premium, Not A Discount (Mar. 02 2016)
    • Related: Sprint: Still A Terminal Short (Mar. 02 2016)
    • Related: Run, Don't Walk Away From Sprint (Jan. 26 2016)
    | Wed, Mar. 2, 7:35 PM | 48 Comments
  • Wed, Mar. 2, 12:37 PM
    • Sprint (S +4.2%) has moved quickly to fill Bob Johnson's role, naming Robert Hackl to take over as chief experience officer and as president of national sales.
    • He'll join the company April 1 and report to CEO Marcelo Claure. He's been commercial operations director at Vodafone in Germany for the past three years, after a few years working for T-Mobile in the United States.
    • Hackl will take responsibility for Customer Care, Omni-Channel Operations, and the Sprint Promoter Score, as well as for direct and indirect sales along with telesales. But the four area presidents in Sprint's recently reorganized regional sales structure will continue to report directly to Claure.
    • Johnson left the role after 17 years at Sprint.
    • Previously: Sprint says veteran chief experience officer leaving company (Mar. 01 2016)
    | Wed, Mar. 2, 12:37 PM | 7 Comments
  • Tue, Mar. 1, 6:43 PM
    • In a brief 8-K, Sprint (S +1%) says that its chief experience officer, Robert Johnson, would be leaving the company effective April 29.
    • The 57-year-old Johnson also had held the roles of president of retail sales and chief service and information technology officer. His basic compensation at last report was $2.04M ($625,000 in base salary).
    • He had begun serving as chief service officer of Sprint in October 2007, and had joined the company via Nextel in 1998.
    | Tue, Mar. 1, 6:43 PM | 14 Comments