Oct. 24, 2014, 1:16 PM
- The FCC's Incentive Auction, which will auction off a giant chunk of low-frequency (600 MHz.) spectrum historically used for TV broadcasts, is now set for early 2016 instead of mid-2015.
- The agency cites legal challenges from broadcasters, as well as the auction's complexity and "the need for all auction participants to have certainty well in advance."
- A recent FCC study (.pdf) meant to appease broadcasters estimated the auction could raise $45B. Sprint (S -0.1%) and T-Mobile (TMUS +0.1%), whose rural and in-building coverage has suffered from a dearth of low-frequency spectrum, are expected to spend aggressively.
- AT&T (T +0.1%) and Verizon (VZ +1%) are also expected to bid heavily, though the FCC plans to limit their purchases on account of their already-massive low-frequency assets. AT&T has said it plans to spend at least $9B.
- Dish (DISH +1.4%), which has a large chunk of high-frequency spectrum it's still trying to find a use for, plans to participate as well.
Oct. 14, 2014, 4:00 PM
- A month after launching a $20/month iPhone 6 leasing plan to go with an iPhone-specific $50/month unlimited voice/text/data plan, Sprint (S +2.4%) has begun offering existing customers who take up an iPhone lease a $15/month "Loyalty Service Credit."
- The promo, available until Jan. 15, lasts as long as customers have an active lease and a qualifying service plan. It cuts the effective lease rates for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to $5/month and $10/month, respectively. After two years, users can trade in their iPhone for a new model, buy it, keep leasing it, or return the device and terminate service.
- New CEO Marcelo Claure has unveiled several new price plans and promos since taking charge, as his company tries to halt many quarters of share losses to Verizon, AT&T, and (more recently) T-Mobile. A data promo was launched a couple weeks ago.
- The iPhone 6 promo might also be aimed at taking a bite out of Sprint's heavy iPhone purchase obligations.
Oct. 3, 2014, 4:13 PM
- Making good on remarks from new CEO Marcelo Claure, Sprint (S) has begun a new "workforce reduction plan" set to be mostly completed by the end of October. A $160M FQ2 (Sep. quarter) charge is expected.
- Sprint adds "additional material charges associated with future labor reductions may occur in future periods." The carrier has been steadily losing postpaid and prepaid share in recent quarters.
- Back in March, Sprint announced it was shutting down 55 stores and 150 service/repair centers.
Oct. 2, 2014, 2:42 AM
- The FCC is prepping its upcoming auction of frequencies known as AWS-3, scheduled to begin on Nov. 13. The auction is expected to raise at least $10B and will include airwaves previously occupied by multiple federal users.
- A total of 80 entities submitted initial applications, including Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and three of the four largest U.S. wireless carriers - Verizon (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS).
- Sprint (NYSE:S) is planning sit out on the auction to save firepower for a major sale of low-frequency airwaves scheduled for next year.
Sep. 12, 2014, 10:14 AM
- Apple's (AAPL +0.1%) iPhone 6 Plus is now on backorder and not available to ship for 3-4 weeks in the U.S., judging by Apple.com shipment quotes after the device went on sale after midnight.
- The iPhone 6 Plus, the larger of the two iPhone 6 models offered, is showing a shipment time of 3-4 weeks rather than delivery on the first day of sale, Sept. 19th, for the iPhone 6.
- Also, BGR reports that iPhone 6 Plus units through AT&T (T -0.4%) will now ship in 21-28 business days, Verizon's (VZ -0.6%) models are backordered until Oct. 7 (for 64 GB) or Oct. 14 (16 GB and 128 GB), and Sprint (S +7.3%) says all of its shipments are currently delayed.
- Worldwide demand also is said to be high for the Plus, with customers in France and the U.K. saying the larger iPhone has sold out.
- AAPL is expected to announce next weekend the total initial sales results for the first three days of availability.
Sep. 12, 2014, 9:12 AM
Sep. 12, 2014, 7:46 AM
- Impressed with management changes at Sprint (NYSE:S) and seeing the stock as a long-term investment opportunity, Cowen upgrades to Outperform with $8 price target.
- In other news, Sprint plans to offer the new iPhones beginning on Sept. 19 and announces the iPhone for Life Plan, allowing customers to get a new iPhone for $20 per month for 24 months and the guarantee of a new device every two years.
- Shares +2.4% premarket after yesterday's 6.8% gain.
- Previously: Sprint on the move as Claure addresses conference
Sep. 11, 2014, 11:44 AM
- "We're implementing a culture of must-have and nice-to-have," new Sprint (S +5%) CEO Marcello Claure tells the audience (webcast) at the Goldman Communacopia Conference. "We have to focus on must-have and nice-to-have will have to go."
- Everything is on the table, he says, and "some [managers] will make it and some won't."
- The advice he got upon becoming CEO of a public company for the first time was not to change anything for the first 100 days, "but I just couldn't help myself," and Sprint overhauled its offerings on day 4.
- Previously: Claure: Sprint to slash prices, cut more jobs
Sep. 2, 2014, 6:40 AM
- SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) says it will begin selling a humanoid robot named "Pepper", which is equipped with a laser sensor and 12 hours of battery life, at Sprint (NYSE:S) stores in the U.S. by next summer.
- The robot was originally targeted at families and the elderly before getting attention for business use since being unveiled in June.
- SoftBank has developed Pepper with an open platform operating system, allowing customization for use in construction, health care and entertainment industries.
Aug. 21, 2014, 1:31 PM
- Three days after launching new shared data plans (along with big short-term promotions), Sprint (S +1%) has rolled out a $60/month individual plan that provides unlimited data to go with unlimited voice/text. Like the shared data plans, Sprint's offering requires users to forgo smartphone subsidies.
- Sprint notes the individual plan is $20/month cheaper than a comparable T-Mobile (TMUS -1.1%) unlimited plan. For $60/month, T-Mobile offers individuals 3GB of data to go with unlimited voice/text. AT&T and Verizon don't offer unlimited data.
- Meanwhile, in a PR titled "T-Mobile Urges Its Customers to Rescue Sprint Customers," T-Mobile states it will give both a new customer and an existing customer unlimited data for a year, when the latter gets the former to sign up. Those already on unlimited plans will get $10/month in credit for 12 months.
- Sprint lost 181K core platform postpaid subs in Q2, while T-Mobile (aided by aggressive pricing and promotions) posted 908K branded postpaid net adds. Sprint shares are down 23% since reports emerged on Aug. 5 the carrier is abandoning its efforts to acquire T-Mobile.
Aug. 18, 2014, 7:19 PM
- After recently promising big price cuts, Sprint (NYSE:S) has launched Family Share Packs, a pricing scheme that bears a strong resemblance to AT&T and Verizon's subsidy-free shared data plans. Unlike regular Framily plans, there's no drop in per-line charges upon adding new members.
- Sprint argues its pricing sharply undercuts rivals. For example, a family sharing 20GB between four lines would pay $160/month, less than the $210/month charged by AT&T and Verizon for similar plans, and the $180/month charged by T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) for a plan featuring 5GB/line for four lines.
- However, Sprint fails to undercut T-Mobile among families requiring less data. With Sprint charging an extra $10/month per line to those buying a bucket smaller than 20GB, an 8GB bucket costs $170/month to a family of four, and a 4GB bucket $140/month. By contrast, a $140/month T-Mobile plan provides 12GB (3GB/line) to a family of four.
- At the same time, Sprint is following T-Mobile's lead in offering aggressive short-term promotions: Until the end of September, the carrier is waiving $15/month access line charges through 2015 for families buying plans with 20GB or larger buckets, and is also throwing in an extra 2GB/line.
Aug. 14, 2014, 6:45 PM
- With a T-Mobile deal off the table, new Sprint (S -1.9%) CEO Marcelo Claure has told employees the carrier will introduce "very disruptive" prices next week. SoftBank's Masayoshi Son suggested last week price cuts were on tap.
- Claure: "We're going to change our plans to make sure they are simple and attractive and make sure every customer in America thinks twice about signing up to a competitor ... When your network is behind, unfortunately you have to compete on value and price."
- The ex-Brightstar CEO admitted (among other things) Sprint's 4G buildout took too long, that social media chatter about the company is mostly negative, and that Sprint didn't react quickly enough to moves from rivals (read: T-Mobile).
- He promises to use Sprint's huge spectrum assets (skewed towards higher frequency bands) to improve network quality, and to have the industry's lowest cost structure. Claure admits the latter will result in new job cuts, but says he isn't sure of their scope.
Aug. 8, 2014, 11:10 AM
- "Price competition will intensify ... Sprint (S -4.4%) will soon be ready to join the fray," says SoftBank's (OTCPK:SFTBF) Masayoshi Son following the end of Sprint's bid to acquire T-Mobile.
- Son notes SoftBank used aggressive pricing and marketing to gain Japanese mobile share following the acquisition of Vodafone's struggling Japanese unit - "We had nothing we could be proud of ... But we were still able to win more net users than anyone else." - and mentions Sprint is testing new service plans (previous).
- T-Mobile, of course, is already quite aggressive with its pricing, and AT&T had made sizable price cuts of its own in response. Verizon is refusing to return fire for now.
- Sprint is now down 23% since reports emerged it's giving up on trying to buy T-Mobile for the time being.
Aug. 6, 2014, 12:45 PM
Aug. 6, 2014, 9:22 AM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) has confirmed reports CEO Dan Hesse is leaving, and will be replaced by Marcelo Claure, founder/CEO of of mobile hardware distributor Brighstar.
- Claure, 43, is already a member of Sprint's board. He'll be resigning from Brighstar, and SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) will acquire his remaining interest in the company. Bloomberg states Hesse may receive a $40M+ severance package.
- Shares are off sharply premarket due to widespread reports Sprint is ending its bid (for now) to acquire T-Mobile on account of regulatory opposition, as investors fear the carrier will continue bleeding share to T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T as an independent entity.
- More on Sprint/T-Mobile
Aug. 6, 2014, 9:14 AM
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