Tue, Feb. 10, 3:39 AM
- SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) reported a sharp drop in its profit for the October-December quarter this morning, weighed down by the continuing struggles at Sprint (NYSE:S), the U.S. mobile operator it acquired in 2013.
- "Overall, SoftBank is doing well, but with Sprint...being in a tough situation, I think it will have a long battle to fight," said SoftBank's Chief Executive Masayoshi Son.
- The telecommunications giant posted FQ3 net income of ¥32.3B ($272.3M), down from ¥93.8B a year earlier.
Mon, Feb. 9, 11:16 AM
- Dish Network (DISH -0.7%) was the surprise story of the FCC's AWS-3 spectrum auction, snapping up some $13B work -- but RBC Capital Markets thinks the company may be sitting on it a while, downgrading Dish's shares to Sector Perform.
- "We are downgrading Dish (to sector perform) as we see few near-term prospects for Dish to monetize its spectrum," says RBC's Jonathan Atkin.
- Atkin concludes that AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) have bought ample capacity for the next few years and that Sprint (NYSE:S) has airwaves that can compete on price with Dish's.
- "We still view a combination with T-Mobile (with Dish as the acquirer) as possible, with an eventual take-out by Softbank/Sprint worth contemplating over the longer term," Atkin adds.
- RBC has a price target for Dish Network of $81; shares are trading at $75.11.
Thu, Feb. 5, 8:57 AM
- With losses continuing, eyes at Sprint (NYSE:S) were on its subscriber situation, as the company gets further along into aggressive promotions like "cut your bill in half."
- Sprint (S) got back to postpaid subscriber growth in fiscal Q3 (as it previewed a month ago) with 30K net adds, postpaid gross adds were highest in three years -- and postpaid churn increased Q/Q to 2.3%.
- Postpaid upgrade rate highest on record at 11.5%, "illustrating a recommitment from existing customers." As it had noted, prepaid net adds of 410K on the platform. Wholesale net adds of 527K up 225K from prior year, and mainly driven by connected devices.
- As expected, postpaid ARPU of $58.90 is down -- both Y/Y (from $64.11) and sequentially (from $60.58). Prepaid ARPU of $27.12 is down sequentially (from $27.19) but up from prior year's $26.78.
- Free cash flow at -$1.83B, compared to prior year's -$2.84B.
- Adjusted EBITDA Margin was up Y/Y at 15.4% compared to 14.4%, but down from Q3's 19.9%. Adjusted EBITDA was $1.03B.
- The network is coming along: LTE coverage reached over 270M people -- 125M covered by 2.5 GHz deployment, and 800 MHz voice deployed nationwide.
- Shares now down 2% premarket.
- Press Release
Thu, Feb. 5, 7:35 AM
Wed, Feb. 4, 7:57 PM
- The end is near for RadioShack (NYSE:RSH), as Bloomberg reports the company is nearing an agreement with creditors that would put it in bankruptcy by tonight or Thursday morning.
- RSH reportedly would sell leases on as many as 2,000 stores to Sprint (NYSE:S) and Standard General, its largest shareholder, the rest of the 4,000-plus U.S. stores would be closed.
- The NYSE would suspend trading and delist the stock.
Wed, Feb. 4, 5:30 PM
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Wed, Feb. 4, 1:11 PM
- Despite their CFO just last month saying certain customers would "leave us for price and we're just not going to compete with that," Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is cutting $10/month off the cost of most of its data plans.
- Customers have some flexibility but will have to opt in to the new prices.
- Verizon also said it would offer a one-time $100 credit to those coming in to switch from another carrier.
- Taken together, the moves are the clearest sign that VZ may feel heat from ETF-refund moves by other carriers, including Sprint's (S +2.6%) "cut your bill in half" promo.
Tue, Feb. 3, 2:24 AM
- A new Bloomberg report suggests that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has discussed acquiring some RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) locations, joining other potential bidders, including Sprint (NYSE:S) and investment group Brookstone.
- Amazon would use the stores as showcases for its hardware, as well as potential pickup and drop-off centers for online customers.
- The NYSE suspended trading of RadioShack's shares yesterday, after it failed to have an average market value of at least $50M for 30 straight days.
Mon, Feb. 2, 1:45 PM
- RadioShack (RSH -20.5%) might sell half of its stores to Sprint (S -0.3%) as part of a bankruptcy arrangement, reports Bloomberg.
- Sources say the remainder of the electronics chain's stores will be closed under the proposed deal.
- A co-branding partnership with Sprint or a last-minute acquisition of RadioShack by a new player are also scenarios which are still possible.
- Previously: Standard General likely act as lead bidder for RadioShack (Feb. 02 2015)
Sat, Jan. 31, 1:47 PM
- After learning which way AT&T (NYSE:T) went (high) and which way Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) went (low) in the 11-week FCC wireless spectrum auction, most attention focused on Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH): What are they up to?
- The satellite firm took just short of half of the available licenses (and saved over $3B by cannily working through small-business partners) but doesn't offer mobile service -- yet.
- Dish's fortunes in this auction were linked to those of Verizon, which is widely considered a potential buyer or lessee of Dish's spectrum assets. But Dish's Charlie Ergen has pursued wireless firms before (MetroPCS and Sprint (NYSE:S)) and may see wireless mobile as the next path forward from a slower-growing business.
- “I think [Ergen's] strategy is built around a confidence that spectrum will only become more valuable going forward,” says former FCC commissioner Robert McDowell.
- DISH closed the day out down 4.3%, slightly below where it was sitting before the auction results were released.
Thu, Jan. 29, 1:04 PM
- Par for the course in what has become intense competition in wireless telecom, the FCC's latest spectrum auction (AWS-3) received record bids of $44.9B in 341 rounds that started Nov. 13.
- Expectations were that the total might come between $10B-$20B, above the $10B reserve price. Only a very few investors thought the sale might top $35B.
- Paired spectrum licenses -- those focused on major metro areas, and without government users that must be moved off first -- got the big bids.
- Analysts anticipated that AT&T (NYSE:T) may have been spending more than Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) -- upward of $20B -- as news came that AT&T entered into $11B in credit pacts.
- The high total also means multiple bidders aside from AT&T and Verizon likely fought hard for licenses in major metros including New York and Los Angeles. Sprint (NYSE:S) didn't take part, though Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) did.
- Winners will be released by the FCC within days.
Mon, Jan. 26, 1:57 AM
- Not only is Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) preparing a new cellphone service that will dial up pressure on the wireless industry’s business model, Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) is also prepping one.
- Google’s new package will hunt through cellular connections provided by Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) and WiFi "hot spots," picking whichever offers the best signal to route calls, texts and data, WSJ reports.
- Meanwhile, Cablevision will start offering Freewheel next month, a WiFi-only mobile-phone service.
- Such services pose a challenge to traditional telecom carriers, including AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
- Previously: Report: Google to sell phone plans via Sprint, T-Mobile (Jan. 21 2015)
- Previously: Analysis: Cable WiFi services to go mainstream (Oct. 06 2014)
Thu, Jan. 22, 11:04 AM
- AT&T (T -1.7%) and Sprint (S -2.5%) are joining Verizon in selling off (in spite of a market rally) after Big Red reported 2M Q4 postpaid net adds (including 672K phone adds), but also stated its wireless service revenue growth fell to 2.8% from Q3's 4.8% and that wireless EBITDA margin fell to 42% from 47% a year ago. Verizon also disclosed retail postpaid churn rose to 1.14% from 0.96% a year ago.
- Verizon's service growth, margin, and churn reflect both strong phone upgrade activity (due to iPhone 6 sales and phone upgrade plan adoption) and a U.S. mobile price war that isn't showing any signs of letting up as 2015 commences.
- Meanwhile, Verizon's Q4 postpaid adds, together with T-Mobile's strong Q4 adds, suggest AT&T may have joined Sprint in losing postpaid phone subscriber share during the quarter. Sprint has said it added 30K postpaid subs in calendar Q4 - postpaid phone adds were apparently still negative - and AT&T disclosed last month churn is trending higher in Q4.
- AT&T reports on Jan. 27, and Sprint on Feb. 5. Sprint jumped in the final minutes of trading yesterday on a report that Google is getting ready to sell phone plans on an MVNO basis while using Sprint and T-Mobile's networks.
Wed, Jan. 21, 4:09 PM
- Two day after reporting on Google's (GOOG +2.2%) SpaceX investment (confirmed a day later), The Information reports Google (GOOG +2.2%) is getting ready to "sell mobile phone plans directly to customers and manage their calls and mobile data over a cellular network."
- Google won't be building its own network, but will instead operate as an MVNO leveraging Sprint (S +5.8%) and T-Mobile's (TMUS +1.9%) networks. Deals for wholesale network access are reportedly on the way. Sprint and (to a lesser extent) T-Mobile have caught a bid on the report.
- Becoming a U.S. mobile carrier with Sprint/T-Mobile's help risks upsetting AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), who still tower over the local telecom landscape. However, it also gives Google a chance to experiment with novel/low-cost service plans, perhaps with the hope that other carriers (in the U.S. and elsewhere) will follow suit. Google also might be betting Android is too well-entrenched at this point for AT&T and/or Verizon to respond too harshly.
- Last April, The Information reported Google has discussed offering mobile services in Google Fiber markets. Q4 results arrive in eight days.
- Update: The WSJ is backing up The Information's report. It adds Sprint is "hedging its bet by putting a volume trigger into the [Google] contract that would allow the deal to be renegotiated if Google’s customer base swells."
Fri, Jan. 16, 6:19 PM
- Through its existing partnership with Wal-Mart, Sprint's (NYSE:S) Virgin Mobile brand is offering new prepaid shared data plans: A 2-line, 4GB plan goes for $65/month; a 3-line, 8GB plan goes for $90/month; and a 4-line, 12GB plan goes for $115/month.
- Virgin/Wal-Mart are also selling new individual prepaid plans: $35/month for 300 minutes, unlimited text, and 2.5GB of unthrottled data, and $45/month for unlimited talk/text and 2.5GB of unthrottled data.
- Sprint is abandoning the Virgin Mobile Custom brand (offered via Wal-Mart since last August), which the carrier says led to confusion among would-be customers. However's it's keeping Custom's ItsOn platform, which allows a primary account holder to decide how much of a shared data bucket goes to a particular user, as well as buy additional data, through an app.
- T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS), meanwhile, has rolled out its Simply Prepaid plans. $40/month gets unlimited talk/text and 1GB of 4G data (3G speeds beyond that); an extra $10 and $20 respectively yields 3GB and 5GB of 4G data.
- Both carriers may have gained prepaid share in Q4: Sprint had 410K prepaid net adds, and T-Mobile 266K branded prepaid net adds. Sprint's calendar Q4 (FQ3) report arrives on the morning of Feb. 5.
Thu, Jan. 15, 5:24 PM
- A day after the WSJ reported RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) is prepping a bankruptcy filing that could happen as soon as next month, Bloomberg has confirmed the scoop, and adds the electronics chain is in active talks with Sprint (NYSE:S) to sell the leases for some of its stores.
- RadioShack is reportedly looking to "emerge from bankruptcy with 2,000 to 3,000 stores, compared with the more than 4,000 it now has." Sprint is an eyebrow-raising potential buyer, given the carrier has been aggressively cutting costs and is less than a year removed from shuttering 55 stores.
- RadioShack fell 35.6% in regular trading to $0.264.
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