Thu, Feb. 19, 11:09 AM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) says it's started a public offering of $1B in senior notes.
- The destination for the funds is general purposes -- and working capital is a pressing concern with the company's cash burn.
- Analyst Craig Moffett has noted that Sprint earnings pressure will make debt financing harder: "As EBITDA comes down, leverage goes up and the company's ability to fund its cash burn and debt maturities with still more debt dries up."
- Shares are 1.4% lower on steady volume.
- Previously: Oppenheimer: Sprint will be forced to make sales (Feb. 18 2015)
Wed, Feb. 18, 6:46 PM
- With a hotly price-competitive wireless industry, and in need of cash to slow its burn, what is Sprint (NYSE:S) to do?
- With competition that loaded up on wireless spectrum in an auction Sprint sat out, should it sell off some of its 2.5 GHz licenses? Or should it ditch wireline long distance?
- "I think they will do both," says Oppenheimer's Tim Horan. "The cash needs are high."
- Sprint has $3.46B in cash, against total long-term debt of $31.2B, and noted free cash flow narrowed to -$1.83B, compared to prior year's -$2.84B.
- Cowen's Colby Synesael says Sprint will run out of cash by the end of March 2017, regardless of cost cutting. And Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY) will be slow to pour in more money.
- Regardless of selling its spectrum, Sprint will have trouble with more financing, Craig Moffett says: "As EBITDA comes down, leverage goes up and the company's ability to fund its cash burn and debt maturities with still more debt dries up."
- Previously: Sprint to roll out high-speed nets in 48 markets (Feb. 18 2015)
Wed, Feb. 18, 6:15 PM
- T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) chief John Legere takes to the blog to excoriate the FCC's recent AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction as a "disaster" for consumers (even if a success for the Treasury), and to call for revised rules in the future.
- Legere complains about AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), who'll use deep pockets to "corner the market on available spectrum at nearly any cost."
- He notes: "To add insult to injury, the FCC’s rules actually allowed companies that don’t provide wireless service at all to buy up huge amounts of spectrum and sit on it for ten years!" ... a sure shot at Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), who's also taken criticism for using affiliated investment entities to garner a 25% discount on their spectrum stockpiles.
- Legere says he's calling for action to avoid "epic failure" in next year's auction of low-band spectrum -- which will be highly contested and even more crucial to wireless companies' ability to reach further into buildings.
- He wants at least half the available low-band reserved for competitors who aren't the "Twin Bells" (the FCC will restrict AT&T and Verizon, though not as much as Legere would like) and wants to ensure spectrum is put to use and not "collected and traded like financial securities."
- Sprint (NYSE:S) mainly sat out the last auction but is sitting on spectrum that others may covet.
- More FCC auction news
Wed, Feb. 18, 3:40 PM
- With its network now no longer the worst, Sprint (NYSE:S) is ready to start tomorrow's rollout of LTE and Spark networks in 48 new markets, including Hawaii, Colorado, and Washington D.C.
- The move means that Sprint will cover more than 270M people with LTE (125M with 2.5-GHz spectrum, part of the three-band "Spark" spectrum).
- The high-speed data is important to Sprint's story of continuing improvement, not to mention the pressure for voice over LTE (years in the future, but still out there in the distance for all carriers).
- Sprint shares are currently down 4.3%.
- Previously: Vetr downgrades Sprint again, to Sell (Feb. 17 2015)
- Previously: Sprint rebounding in week of change: earnings, FCC, RadioShack (Feb. 12 2015)
Tue, Feb. 17, 7:45 PM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) gave up another 1% during today's trading as analysts at Vetr Inc. downgraded the stock for the second time in just over a week.
- On Feb. 9 the firm downgraded Sprint to Hold from Buy, with a $5.36 price target.
- Today Vetr downgraded Sprint again, to Sell, and set its target at $5.08.
- Shares closed today at $5.18. The stock is up 13% since Sprint reproted earnings on Feb. 5.
- Previously: Sprint rebounding in week of change: earnings, FCC, RadioShack (Feb. 12 2015)
- Previously: With declining postpaid ARPU, Sprint eyes customer growth (Feb. 05 2015)
Tue, Feb. 17, 9:33 AM
- Giving an update on its $10.4B in FCC spectrum bids, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) says it's got no pressing need to make big spectrum buys in the near term -- and will focus on getting more leverage out of current spectrum, considering it's a sellers' (government) market.
- Verizon didn't rule out leasing spectrum from peers and is watching Sprint's (NYSE:S) 2.5-GHz airwaves, as well as unlicensed spectrum.
- The $45B in bids at the AWS-3 auction highlighted the rising costs of new airwaves, with new competitors bidding over a hotly contested space.
- More spectrum auction news
- Previously: FCC spectrum auction ends with record $44.9B bid (Jan. 29 2015)
Thu, Feb. 12, 10:58 AM
- Sprint's (NYSE:S) 2.6% gain today adds to a three-day rise of 6.5% -- and +20% over a newsy past week that started with fiscal Q3 earnings showing the return of customer growth.
- The company is going against the industry grain by showing support for Title II reclassification by the FCC -- new regulations that are opposed by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.
- "Our competitors are going to continue to invest [in networks] so they are representing a situation that won't play out," says Sprint CTO Stephen Bye.
- Network investment is a key issue for Sprint -- it has a lot of work ahead to unify its LTE bands, and it still lags AT&T/Verizon in network quality (though it's moving up).
- Meanwhile, dealing with RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) on some 1,750 co-branded stores gives a shot in the arm to Sprint distribution, which was strained by long lines during their recent "Cut Your Bill In Half" and "IPhone For Life" promotions.
- Shares are now up 36% off their 52-week low from mid-December.
Tue, Feb. 10, 11:48 AM
- While Verizon (VZ +0.4%) and AT&T (T +0.6%) are still the big two competing over mobile network size/reliability, Sprint (S +1.2%) and T-Mobile (TMUS +1%) are competitive in metro areas, according to analysis firm RootMetrics.
- The company tested every mobile network by driving the equivalent of 100 U.S. coast-co-coast trips in the last half of 2014.
- Verizon won out overall and on network speed and data; AT&T came in second and won on text performance.
- Biggest problems for the sector's "other two": Reliability for T-Mobile; speed for Sprint.
- For their part: "It’s a very encouraging result for us," says Sprint network chief John Saw; "We believe the metro stuff is the most important," says T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray.
- "The good news is that our testing shows every network is getting better," says RootMetrics' Bill Moore.
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.
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