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  • Fri, Feb. 26, 6:30 PM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) gained 8.5% today to hit its highest point in six weeks, and trim much of the decline it saw coming out the holiday season.
    • And just a month after quietly killing off its offering of two-year subsidized-phone contracts (and loudly proclaiming the benefits of leasing), it's quietly brought back the option for customers.
    • It's the only one of the big four carriers to do so. "We listened to our customers and are giving them more choices to get their new device," a spokeswoman tells FierceWireless.
    • And there are choices: Customers can choose leasing a phone, as with its heavily promoted "iPhone Forever" and "Galaxy Forever" frequent-upgrade deals. But they can also pay for a phone via monthly installments, pay full price, or (now) choose a 24-month subsidy contract again.
    • Leasing is a "churn killer," Sprint CFO Tarek Robbiati said at an investment conference last month, and allowed the company another revenue stream by selling refurbished products. But after being among the last carriers to drop subsidies (T-Mobile kicked off the trend in 2013), Sprint's now the only one offering that option.
    • Sprint shares are down 8% YTD.
    • Previously: New Samsungs see Sprint moving more into leasing while AT&T, Verizon wait (Feb. 23 2016)
    | Fri, Feb. 26, 6:30 PM | 48 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 25, 8:36 PM
    • Broadcast players in a critical FCC spectrum auction will get their chance to declare themselves in for the sale -- during just a 32-hour window in which to get in, or stay out.
    • The FCC has set 10 a.m. March 28 for the start of a commitment window for its broadcast incentive auction set to begin the next day. Broadcasters can start locking in commitment elections from then until 6 p.m. the following day.
    • Stations will be able to preview the "commitment module" starting March 24, but will need to act fast the next week in order to lock themselves in to selling airwaves. Late stations will be barred from the auction.
    • Spectrum players: VZ, T, TMUS, S, DISH, SBGI, EVC, CMCSA, CHTR, NXST
    • Previously: FBR: Airwaves auction could bolster Dish Network (Feb. 19 2016)
    | Thu, Feb. 25, 8:36 PM | 14 Comments
  • Tue, Feb. 23, 8:09 PM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) is increasing its forays into leasing, even if AT&T and Verizon are mostly staying away.
    • A new "Galaxy Forever" program borrows from Sprint's earlier leasing program for iPhones, promising an annual upgrade to Samsung's flagship Galaxy smartphones. Firms are beginning to push the newest Samsung phones, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
    • Sprint's offering get one/get another half off on the phones whether customers lease or buy. But lease customers can upgrade anytime after making 12 payments.
    • Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon are likely to stick with installment plans for the new Galaxy phones though analysts think they may start to offer a leasing option to go along with the arrival of Apple's iPhone 7.
    | Tue, Feb. 23, 8:09 PM | 46 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 18, 12:47 PM
    • Sprint (S +0.2%) is again offering more data for lower prices in its latest gambit to draw customers from bigger rivals.
    • Its new "Better Choice Plans" take effect tomorrow and adopt the clothing-size metaphor that Verizon uses to offer consumers data bundles in six tiers from "XS" to "XXL." All plans feature unlimited talk/text.
    • The data bundles are substantially larger than previous offerings. The "Medium" size plan offers 6 GB for $45/month (before line charges); on the low end, "XS" is 1GB for $20/month, while the biggest bundle features 40 GB for $100/month ($20 less than previous).
    • The carrier is also pressing its current unlimited-data plan, which comes at one line for $75, but for a limited time drops to $37.50/line ($150 total) for a four-line unlimited signup.
    | Thu, Feb. 18, 12:47 PM | 46 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 11, 2:56 PM
    • Sprint (S -3.5%) has given another lease on life to its 50%-off promotion, extending the deal through March after having previously stretched it out from the holidays.
    • The deal, offered to customers of its three competitors, has seen "strong customer demand," the company says. It had originally rolled out the promotion in November with a planned expiration just after 2016 began, but extended it another month then.
    • Along with promising 50% off plans at AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, Sprint is still offering to pay up to $650 in switching fees.
    | Thu, Feb. 11, 2:56 PM | 47 Comments
  • Wed, Jan. 27, 10:09 AM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) is up 2.3% and has touched $3.21 this morning, its highest point in two weeks, as Oppenheimer has upgraded it out of earnings to Market Perform, from Underperform.
    • The network's getting better even as it cuts costs, Timothy Horan says, after a solid quarter -- and the firm believes M&A activity is "possible." He has a $2.99 price target.
    • More important, he sees free cash flow going positive in 2017 despite a current high burn of about $500M.
    • "Positively, the network is improving, and this should continue, and subscriber trends have stabilized, although with lower ARPU and declining prepaid, both of which should persist for another few quarters," he writes. "Sprint also now has a greatly improved liquidity position (vendor and handset financing). The company also has some price increases kicking in starting in February."
    • Sprint had gained strongly after yesterday morning's early earnings release showed gains in subscribers and lower costs along with a raised outlook.
    • Previously: Sprint call: Talking customer quality, calming network worries (Jan. 26 2016)
    • Previously: Sprint jumps 15.1% as Q3 adds subscribers, beats profit expectations (Jan. 26 2016)
    | Wed, Jan. 27, 10:09 AM | 62 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 26, 12:45 PM
    | Tue, Jan. 26, 12:45 PM | 2 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 26, 10:39 AM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) is up 12.7% now after fiscal Q3 results where the company raised its outlook and added subscribers, though a heavy promotional approach has interest turning to future cash flows.
    • It added 501,000 net postpaid connections; 366,000 net postpaid phone adds, not far off Verizon's 449,000 (but well behind T-Mobile). Postpaid churn dropped, but on the company's earnings call, CFO Tarek Robbiati suggested that's not the only measure of customer base quality: "Bad debt is a measure of that quality" also, he says: "We're not bottom fishing." CEO Marcelo Claure concurred: "We're pretty much happy with the type of customers we're bringing."
    • Claure didn't offer details about network plans, but countered media reports of a massive network overhaul: It's "not a rip and replace strategy ... we are deploying small cells" based on data.
    • Wells Fargo's Jennifer Fritzsche -- who was eager to hear the results since the "story is not that bad" -- said the real story of Q3 is liquidity. "By offering FY2016 guide which implies 25% y/y growth, and confidence in future tranches and new network financing facility, we believe it should give enough confidence to the market about S’s liquidity position and its ability to handle future maturities. This is KEY to the story, and we look for color regarding FCF timing and more details surrounding network financing."
    • On the call, Robbiati alluded to concerns about free cash flow timing, suggesting that the company's leasing model plays a role there as well as execution timing on the company's cost reductions.
    • Previously: Sprint jumps 15.1% as Q3 adds subscribers, beats profit expectations (Jan. 26 2016)
    • Previously: Sprint reports FQ3 results (Jan. 26 2016)
    • Previously: Sprint -11.2% as it plans to cut 7% of workforce (Jan. 25 2016)
    | Tue, Jan. 26, 10:39 AM | 17 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 26, 9:22 AM
    | Tue, Jan. 26, 9:22 AM | 5 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 26, 8:59 AM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) is up 15.1% premarket after fiscal Q3 results it wanted to report: subscribers up, costs down, and an expectation to return to operational profit within weeks.
    • The carrier posted a loss of $836M -- $0.21/share -- narrower than a year-ago loss of $2.38B, and better than an expected loss of $0.25/share. Adjusted EBITDA of $1.9B easily topped an expected $1.38B, and it raised guidance on EBITDA for the fiscal year from a previous range of $6.8B-$7.1B to a new range of $7.7B-$8B.
    • Revenue of $8.11B was down nearly 10% and trailed expectations for $8.23B. Breakout: Service revenues, $6.68B (down 8.1%); equipment revenues, $1.42B (down 16.3%).
    • It added 501,000 net postpaid connections, up from a year-ago 30,000 adds. Prepaid connections fell by 491,000. It ended the quarter with 30.9M postpaid connections and postpaid churn of 1.62% -- down from a year-ago 2.3% and its lowest ever Q3 postpaid churn.
    • Its cost-cutting moves, including 7% cuts to its workforce announced yesterday, have it raising its outlook. For full fiscal 2015, it expects operating income of $100M-$300M, bumped from its previous forecast of -$50M to $250M. Its early expectation for fiscal 2016 EBITDA is $9.5B-$10B.
    • Previously: Sprint -11.2% as it plans to cut 7% of workforce (Jan. 25 2016)
    | Tue, Jan. 26, 8:59 AM | 18 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 26, 7:37 AM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S): FQ3 EPS of -$0.21
    • Revenue of $8.11B (-9.6% Y/Y)
    | Tue, Jan. 26, 7:37 AM | 6 Comments
  • Mon, Jan. 25, 5:30 PM
    | Mon, Jan. 25, 5:30 PM | 13 Comments
  • Mon, Jan. 25, 3:48 PM
    • A morning of solid gains has slipped away with Sprint (NYSE:S) falling into the close, -11.2%, on news that it's cutting 2,500 jobs.
    • That amounts to about 7% of total staff, and is its third round of reductions in less than two years. The moves had largely been expected by this week as Sprint pursues $2.5B in cost cuts.
    • The cuts will come mostly to customer-care staff, and Sprint will close several call centers.
    • SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) is off 2.8% in late U.S. trading. Its shares had closed up 2.4% in Tokyo on Monday -- logging its biggest intraday rally since spring 2014 -- after Sprint's note that it would release earnings tomorrow (a week earlier than expected) to assuage investor concerns about its decline. Sprint has fallen 31% already in 2016 and is down 47% over the past three months.
    • Previously: Sprint moves Q4 earnings report a week earlier to settle concerns (Jan. 21 2016)
    • Previously: SoftBank hurting as Sprint shares, debt hit multiyear lows (Jan. 20 2016)
    | Mon, Jan. 25, 3:48 PM | 35 Comments
  • Thu, Jan. 21, 8:07 PM
    | Thu, Jan. 21, 8:07 PM | 39 Comments
  • Wed, Jan. 20, 8:02 PM
    • With Sprint (NYSE:S) taking another hit today, down 7.6% for its third straight losing session, owner SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) is feeling the pain as well -- down 7.7% and on its own third straight day of declines.
    • Shares of SoftBank fell for the fourth straight day in Tokyo, to its lowest level since April 2013, and Sprint is at its lowest level in more than two years.
    • Sprint debt is taking a hit; its bonds led junk debt in declines today, with 7% bonds due 2020 dropping 8.25 cents on the dollar to 60.75 cents.
    • SoftBank has said it may take a charge of up to $1.2B in its next earnings report.
    • After hours: OTCPK:SFTBY -2.8%; S -0.8%.
    | Wed, Jan. 20, 8:02 PM | 37 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 19, 5:04 PM
    • After largely holding up today following a Friday tumble, Sprint (NYSE:S) sank in late afternoon to finish down another 8.5% today and hit another new 52-week low.
    • Sprint fell nearly 10% Friday after a Re/code report detailing an ambitious plan to relocate equipment from private towers to government-owned spaces -- though earlier, analysts like Jonathan Schildkraut noted that there are years left on some contracts.
    • Tower firms largely bounced back after declining along with Sprint Friday; AMT finished up 2.9%; CCI up 0.5%; while SBAC closed down 1.2%.
    • Analysts today lined up with some skepticism: "What is going on and why is Sprint OK with confusion about their network strategy?" asks BTIG's Walter Piecyk. Using wireless backhaul could work, he says, "however, we are highly skeptical of a strategy that cuts the coverage and broad capacity offered by the macro cell site layer ... In addition, the macro cell sites can be important aggregation points to handle the wireless backhaul of small cells."
    • And potential savings might not be what they seem, says Cowen's Colby Synesael -- any real estate costs money: "The cost of land is not from our understanding a key component of what drives the overall cost for tower rental fees."
    • Previously: Cell tower firms bouncing back after declines on Sprint overhaul report (Jan. 19 2016)
    • Previously: Sprint -9.9% as it plans 'radical' network overhaul; tower firms dip (Jan. 15 2016)
    | Tue, Jan. 19, 5:04 PM | 54 Comments