The ephemeral shorts do not have to work hard to beat your sorry arsenio. You and those like you are mind pucks.. laughable. You simply do not matter. Stocks do not ride on my or your likes or dislikes. The fortunes of companies ride on their ability to prosper. Sprint sucks bad because they have lost so much their future is limited. Softbank's options are limited to securing a position in Old Sprint's sorry demise.
Old Sprint is a Zombie. It is already dead. It is overdue time to get rid of past debt and shareholders and move on. to a probably bland future.
Business is rigged: For some crazy reason businesses have to make more than they spend or, eventually, big sweet daddy stops loaning it money.
If you do not take the effort to know the legal, regulatory and business environment a company operates, you can become victim to your own lack of awareness.
Mobile operators get license grants of public airwaves. Sprint got some of its 2.5GHz for free decades ago. It was free because the industry did not know what to do with it to make money. The 2.4GHz and above spectrum were either not used or used for point-to-point, satellite, military, home wireless phones, and other types of applications where the poor range and penetration into buildings was not a show stopper.
A large portion of the 2.5-2.6GHz Band 41 was gifted to educational and religious organizations. That is communist... or socialist.. its contrary to free enterprise. The government holds spectrum in the public trust. The FCC is chartered to make the best use of it in the public interest. That, IMO, does not mean to gift it to any religious, educational or private company or group without having hard-nosed expectations for it to be used in a competitive manner. Sprint has debauched their responsibilities and poisoned the water for Softbank/Masa Son to try to make effective use of the band. Shareholders that have hung around since the days of Old Sprint are culpable for going along with the scam.
You complain about a company that received freebies from the government/FCC and then spun mountains of debt instead of gold. You now own it.
Masa Son should be allowed to reorganize Sprint if it fails to pull itself out of the gutter of debt.
It is the responsibility of the FCC and DoJ to assure the best use of public resources and the workings of the free enterprise system. Not handouts that perpetuate misuse. The FCC should take back half of Band 41 and auction it IMO.
Sprint cannot acquire free refreshments for lunch breaks.
The company is technically bankrupt.
If not for selling off of assets considered vital to mobile operation, Sprint would go into default on loan repayments over the next 1-3 years.
T-Mobile's growth has been expected to slow but has beat analysts expectations in the past. Evercore's revised forecast for postpaid adds is lower than some quarters in the past when TM added well over a million subs per quarter. However, it remains on pace to allow the company to continue to mount positive cash flows. The magic of being cash flow positive and having sales momentum is that every new subscriber adds to profits rather than losses.
If TM can add 3-5 million subs through the end of 2016 it will have performed well. That will lead to increased positive cash flow that helps, as the article mentioned, pay down debt. TM was able to attract financing for the auction at reasonable interest rates. However, they will need to start working down debt after the they splurge on 600MHz spectrum. if they do that, then their credit rating will improve, their debt service costs will move down, and they will be in a position to either borrow for a new round of networks or to do an acquisition, if allowed by regulators.
What could be next for mobile operators? Absorbing more of the home broadband and TV/video market. That is technically possible but must be done while maintaining positive cash flows. Thus far mobile operators have found it very difficult to capitalize on mobile video outside of charges for bandwidth. T-M has no announced plan to charge for video services. They have to be very efficient in delivering video... which is why they went down the path of Binge On.
The ability for self-setup is hardly unique to Artemis: SON, Self-Organized Networks is part of LTE/LTE-Advanced.
Keep in mind that what Artemis has developed is part of broader developments. Standards develop through consensus which sometimes makes compromises between what is optimal and what is practical. There can be commercial preferences in the decisions of what gets adopted into the standards. Often the best technology is not the most practical or simply does not win over the majority to get voted into the standards. Yes, these groups are, at least on the surface, democratic... they vote on what is admitted into the standard. LTE is defined by 3GPP standards group.
Example: When the first 802.16 fixed wireless standard was being developed, Nokia (as you noted who is now working with Artemis), proposed adopting their 'RoofTop' multi-hop MESH network technology into the fixed and the following mobile standard. That was about five years before the first LTE was available (2002-3). Even though RoofTop was immature compared to what could be built today, it could have been made part of a different direction for that early wireless broadband development. During the same period, IOSpan proposed V-OFDM. The CTO of Artemis came from IOSpan. V-OFDM was 'cool technology' when I studied it back then. However, I came to the conclusion it was impractical at the time. Now it is no long impractical because chips and software can do it. Chips and devices optimized for pCell or similar tech is now practical.
Sprint II might go on to use pCell type technology. If you could invest in a fresh start of Sprint, the prospects would not be buried under $33.6B in debt and another about $17B in long-term cell site lease obligations. Show me the stock symbol for that new prospect. It does not exist.
I was thinking outside the box when the technology of choice was TDMA. I was outside of the wireless industry when Qualcomm's developed CDMA. I heard them pitch the new technology to AT&T in Bellevue, Washington. Years latter CDMA/WCDMA had gained widespread adoption. I knew its limits and wanted to know what would be next. I studied research & patents, building a patent database using software developed at a leading research institute in Germany. That gave me the ability to search across countries using cross-indexed terms and building searchable references for my own patent database. That database grew to over 20,000 patents. Some were from Japan, China, S. Korea but most were EU, US.
New technology must fit commercial developments. Investors can benefit from the exploitation of new tech so long as the other parts are put in place: 1. Capital. 2. Management team. 3. A competitive position such as necessary critical resources, in this case spectrum. 4. Scale or time to scale operations. Those are ingredients for emerging market development. Sprint now must overtake entrenched markets to take share away from those who have it. That is more difficult and usually more costly.
When Sprint started deploying WiMAX several ago, Forsee talked about having a 4-5 year 'window of opportunity' before competitors would have the spectrum to follow. I advocated deployment of smallcells with a user deployed tier, saying macrocell would prove fatal as it would be too costly in 2.5GHz.
Sprint now has debts with no time left to gain a competitive advantage. All ops can use pCell if it makes sense. Technology is only one piece of the picture.
Via short squeeze site: Short Interest (Shares Short) 200,733,000
Short Interest Ratio (Days To Cover) 10.7
Short Percent of Float 30.81 %
Short % Increase / Decrease +7 %
Short Interest (Shares Short) - Prior 187,340,600
Shares Float 651,440,000
Plot the rise and fall of short interest (SI) against the stock's chart to show the relationship. Short interest is reported twice a month from data gathered from the brokerages and clearing agents. Then it is reported a week later on a schedule (see NASDAQ website for details). Therefore, back off the plot by about 10 days. This shows that historically short interest has risen near peaks in the stock price and gone down when the stock has reached low periods. SI serves as a contrary indicator for long investors. Both shorts and longs should buy low, sell high. The only difference is short sellers borrow stock to sell near the highs and buy it back near the lows.
Sprint (S) is closer to cyclical highs than lows according to the SI level. SI has remained near historical highs over the few months, having shot up to over 224m then backed down to under 200m prior to this move up.
What does pCell have to do with Sprint's immediate situation? You are throwing this out there as if 1) Sprint was working with Artemis to deploy pCell in widescale networks. 2) pCell was a separate technology from LTE. No, pCell or any other microcell vectored coordinated cell technology work in conjunction with the core wireless modulation scheme. pCell does not modify require a change in the core signaling. Instead, it works to enhance the signaling by using multiple cells to communicate with each user device. That fits into the category of coordinated multipoint-multicell signaling that the industry has been pursuing for several years. 3) The cost of deploying ANY small cell architecture is bound by the installation and backhaul/fronthaul costs. The equipment cost depends largely on volume, which is partly why standards are relied on - in order to get worldwide markets to develop that helps drive down the unit costs.
pCell is probably the most complete, end-to-end, development of the coordinated-multipoint technology. However, since this was developed privately rather than adopted within the wireless standards it lacks mass-market acceptance. At this point, there are no commercial deployments of pCell. In the meantime, CoMP/Co-MIMO/Mu-MIMO technologies are progressing through the 3GPP standards and major suppliers. Nokia is working with Artemis on trials for indoor applications.
pCell does not lower cost of deployment. Like every other microcell CoMP technology, it requires spanning an area with large numbers of cells. Let's assume the cost of the smoke detector-size units is cheap - $300/unit. And assume these are primarily self-backhauled to the wide area network. The cost of engineering, provisioning, labor, macrocell work will be ten to 40x the equipment cost.
Outdoor deployment case looks a bit different.
How do operators deploy that on a large scale? They either spend $30-$80 billion nationwide or get the site owner to absorb the cost.
The latest RM report shows AT&T jumping ahead of Verizon (VZ) in the overall performance score. This is due to a jump in network speed category. I suspect that is due to a cycle of deployment of higher speed backhaul combined with new antenna systems and base station upgrades that accrues from billions spent on backhaul and other areas over the past four years. T gained a 4.3 point lead over Verizon, 4.6 over TMUS and 8.2 points over Sprint. That relatively large number probably is more telling of what is going on than the smaller differences elsewhere in the report.. differences that may be due to data collection errors and anomalies than actually differences in performance.
What also leads more credence to reported numbers is consistency: if a report changes up and down from quarter to quarter the numbers either become less meaningful due to their temporary nature or they indicate possible vagaries in the data gathering and reporting methodology. Sprint has been at the bottom in Network Speed category despite improvements in their network. That is due to improvements in competitor's networks. It also shows, IMO, the 'lumpy gravy' aspect of Sprint's reliance on the higher frequency 2.5GHz network to deliver the higher speeds - high speed tends to be experienced closer to the Band 41 base stations than is the case for lower frequencies where range and building penetration is better.
Increased attention is being paid to RootMetrics and other network performance and user satisfaction surveys in recent months-years. That is due to the fact that these reports have improved dramatically and have taken advantage of the proliferation of SmartPhones and the ability for users to install phone apps that provide the analysis companies with many thousands of points of data. It is also due to the higher degree of emphasis on network quality as operators have grown closer together in coverage and use of similar LTE voice-data networks.
What stands out from these reports is a) Changes from one-quarter to the next probably shows an error factor of 2%-4% in the ratings. Why think that? Because the rankings often flip-flop in categories where there are close ratings. The performance rankings have become closer, just a point or three, sometimes just fractions of a point can determine the difference in rankings. The public more easily understands rankings.. 'So and so comes in number one!' means more to consumers (and often to middle management) than the actual numbers. If we look at the latest, 1ast Quarter 2016 RootMetrics RootScore report, overall ratings between 2nd ranked Verizon and 4th ranked Sprint varied by only 0.4 points out of 100. AT&T took over the top spot with a score 1.2 points above VZ. b.) Firm trends must be gleaned carefully from the data and considered against the backdrop of delivering services. Even if these scores were 100% accurate in showing overall network performance, which they are not, how much does it matter to buyers of mobile services? If these ratings alone determined success, then the top four operators would have nearly equal marketshare. That obviously is far from the case. Its doubtful that the small differences mean much in buying decisions, if at all aware of the reports.
Bloomberg's article discusses an aspect of leverage that is ignored under current accounting rules - that mobile operators have off-laid a large portion of debt by, in many cases, selling their network towers and base stations to third party tower companies and then leasing the facilities back. That puts debt on the balance sheets of the infrastructure leasing cos and off the books of the mobile ops.
The shift to third-party companies has resulted in a new set of risks: 1. It can allow companies to become overextended by masking the extent of financial obligations. 2. What appears as a vehicle to achieve a higher degree of independence from facilities-based operations can result in exactly the opposite: mobile operators can become tied to a particular network architecture, in this case, the macrocell tower-centric network of the past decades. That ties the operator to a less efficient/cost-competitive network.
The problem goes deeply beyond the some $17 billion in additional financial obligations: Sprint, for example, had said that it wants to shift to a massively smallcell/C-RAN network architecture similar to that used by Softbank in Japan. That would make much greater use of government-owned sites including lamp/utility poles, utility lots, and fiber optic runs. Besides the difficulties and costs of deployment of tens to hundreds of thousands of new sites, Sprint faces the inability to walk away from long-term macrocell leases. In some areas as many as two out of three macrocell sites might be replaced by use of smallcell/C-RAN sites. Long-term leases can obligate operators/Sprint to stay with an architecture long after it has become redundant and obsolete.
In context with Sprint's bond debt level and repayments, the tower lease obligations add to worries for the company and its investors.
The lease obligations will be a part of the complex restructuring decisions when Sprint enters into a managed BK process.
Your thoughts are reasonable IMO. The situation is much the same except that Sprint must repay the asset-backed loans from Softbank through becoming profitable rather than come up with the capital to make repayments from other sources. The thing that hasn't changed is that additional funding is needed that has not come from a return on prior capex investments. That has to flip 180 degrees from prior billions in losses to billions in profits.
Investors should be perceiving Sprint as two distinct companies: 1. the company that they own 2. the company that might survive a managed financial restructuring (Bankruptcy that is so predestined/orchestrated it does not appear as a 'normal' bankruptcy). Stockholders own a company and its debt which is senior in position to the common stock. Softbank holds both common stock and survivable interests which are aligned within the regulatory framework and legally to maintain service of a service considered essential to national economic interests
The financial environment had allowed expansion of credit predicated on business expansion. Industry growth is now in the single digits in subscribers and industry sales. The bulk of that had been absorbed by Verizon and AT&T. The new/revived kid on the block, T-Mobile has recently grown faster than the major competitor.s However, in the longer term view T-Mobile's fate is not absolutely certain. Even though their finances and momentums look sustainable, they have to come out with a reasonable position in the 600MHz spectrum auction to set the stage for future competitive needs at a favorable cost. The reason for mentioning that is this lends some clarity to the tasks Sprint faces. Relative to Sprint, TMUS is on a glide path but that can still be seen to face obstacles of acquiring more spectrum to build higher capacity and more seamless coverage that could derail their trajectory in another 2-4 year. Sprint has to build up the momentum to claim an upward trajectory
Put simply, Sprint (S) is selling assets for cash to repay loans that resulted in negative ROI.
Put simply, selling the core assets that are essential to operating a mobile network service company lowers the amount of assets held by Sprint shareholders. Or is there some different way this works out in your world? If so, explain it so we earthlings can understand the Bizarro World financial picture.
Put simply, the hope of long common stock investors is that Sprint will start turning in record-breaking performance over the next three years so that the remaining assets deliver a positive ROI, helping to pay back the $33.6 billion in debt and capital to charge forward with a competitive SDWN network build plan. Then Sprint could change from selling off assets to building them up. The combined increase in asset value and profitable cash flow would then cause the stock to rise.
"Sounds neat doesn't it?" - Dan Hesse, circa 2012 - the promise of unleashing the 2.5GHz spectrum to return profits. Buy-and-hold long investors let words like that go to their heads then and could get fairy dust in their eyes again now. What every great investor/fund manager has said is to confirm the story with results. If the story proves valid by trend-setting results, then buy. If the story then turns negative, looks premature or cyclical, sell to protect profits.
Simply put: Watch to see if Sprint is winding down internal operations (selling assets to pay down debt) or is using asset sales as a stepping stone towards rebuilding the financial structure that helps fuel growth and profits downstream. Which is it? I think the downward trend is too big a gap to fill and is irreversible, however, results are what matter. That makes S a short or a trading stock, not a safe long-term investment until proven otherwise.
I have looked at McKool-Smith's work for other firms and found it to have been effective without having to use the storytelling case strategy that was be relied upon by Parkervision. If the patents have clear teaching of the invention and proof of how it works and how it infringes, then McKool-Smith or another patent law firm has a provable case. For RF circuits used in highly integrated circuits, the teaching must be clear such that it can be simulated or built to test the claims.
McKool Smith handled cases for WiLan which included WOFDM/OFDMA technologies used in WiFi and LTE wireless. The core patents were able to be demonstrated through software simulations and circuit examples. And the theory had undergone much peer-review. The question of whether it worked can be explained both in theory and in practical applications to the extent that there is no doubt remaining (of course that does not stop lawyers and expert witnesses from claiming otherwise).
Parkervision was doomed to failure for reasons stated ~15 years ago. They fail to show how the energy transfer sampling alleged invention works and, that it was used/infringed. Since PV's patents never have shown clear teaching of how to build or how it worked, no emulations were provided in or out of court that were open to verification, no peer-review was performed other than Qualcomm's which determined it faulty and firms contracted with PRKR under non-disclosure. PV's patent claims are either irrelevant/do not work to advantage in modern circuits, or are invalid as anticipated by prior art, many examples of which are no longer in use.
Parkervison can't make and sell what should have been easy. PV claimed D2D easier to design, using fewer components/simpler circuits, to revolutionary advantage. Yet the conmen can't sell enough to pay the janitor cleaning the washrooms. PRKR/JP stink to high heaven. Investors who held long have holes in their heads that this info flowed out of.
No, I don't think BABA is overdoing the acquisitions. However, the story is not written on how well BABA will convert the rounds of acquisitions into worthwhile parts of the overall enterprise with similar growth and profits.
Son tried to sell Sprint and was not able to. His only choice is to do what he is doing - acquire working assets at a willing buyers fair price but secure rights that will endure through what looks like the inevitable manage bankruptcy. It is very unlikely to be any company or group willing or able to acquire Sprint from Softbank under favorable terms. At this point, the salvage value of Sprint is a negative number because intangible assets would be deeply discounted. Masa Son has no choice but to do a piecemeal financial restructuring that places the value originally paid for Sprint into the legal control of the parent company.
This is the direction I thought was the only alternative 2-3 years ago and now is clearly the way masa Son/Softbank has chosen.
Softbank remains on a Plan A - fix Sprint, Plan B - secure the assets in preparation of organized financial restructuring dual focus strategy. However, Plan A has already become too late and this will end in Plan B - Sprint being ushered into court managed, FCC+DOJ supervised financial restructuring.
The process may take 2-4 years. What to watch to tell where on the plot-line Sprint is heading:
a.) Quarterly results - If current trends continue Sprint will be forced to sell off more assets for cash to pay down debt. That will put them on a downhill slide to become a shell operation.
b.) Additional lease-back deals or increases in the current Network Leaseco deal.
c.) Evaluation of the business by credit rating agencies. Paying off debt for the sake of transfer of assets is generally favorable to debt rating because the debtors are being paid first which incrementally reduces the risk of default. (Duh, if a company no longer owes a portion of debt it can't default).
Qualcomm just happens to be the primary company that Parker targeted. PV's core patents are erroneous, core claims have been invalidated, gutting the ability to pursue a patent Troll business strategy. It would have been a different company - the outcome would likely have been the same unless the company folded under the intimidation of a protracted court and IPR battle.
However, that is all history now. PRKR's chances were always very low. They have narrowed to virtually zero chance of redemption for shareholders. That would have to come outside of the current battles IMO.. finding a greater sucker to pay in a large sum of money to bail out current investors. The trends are negative for scamming new investors. Even with granting of senior rights to patent revenue the going has gotten tough. I think the attorneys and investors are blindly throwing their money and prestige away... but that is for the fools to decide.
You misconceive the basic structure: Softbank is not Sprint. S is signing over assets that in order to receive cash at a discount to those assets. Sprint receives roughly 2/3 cash payment for their network assets.
"These are insiders" So? You may be a member of a team, a religious group, a fraternity, or a club or a family. If you loaned money your 'insiders' you would require it to be paid back. If you are a business, you would not give away money without expecting a return for your own shareholders. Softbank's shareholders require the parent company to do what makes them money, resuscitating Zombie Sprint is only one way to achieve that.
The deals are structured to help Sprint dig out of debt and give it time to turn profitable. However, it also protects SFTBY shareholders by being given about $3 in assets for every $2.2 in cash loaned to Sprint. If Sprint keeps losing money Softbank will likely keep lend more money in exchange for discounted assets until the Zombie is sucked dry and SB can start fresh relieved of the debt and high-cost structure.
This makes the deals, as Zack's PR today agreed, a wait and see proposition as it has been for several years but as has grown more critical a factor as options have narrowed.
If you believe Sprint will start turning profitable you might get lucky in timing buying now. However, pro investors want proof shown in the results, or if they are capable, in their research or those of proven analysts.
One fallacy to consider: that if Sprint starts losing less than predicted or even turns profitable that the stock will move much higher. Sprint is so deep in debt that turning profitable may result in having something for the stock market to compare it to other than 'blue sky' and the stock could turn down instead.
What makes the situation with Sprint or other mobile operators is that it is one of the largest cash-flow businesses. That, even if it results in thin margins and bottom line losses for several years, as with Sprint, has led to the financial community extending increasing amounts of credit to the recently reached breaking point. Sprint rode both an industry and an international megatrend glut of junk bond debt. That cycle has collapsed with the oil and gas junk bond debt binge and commodity price collapse.
Desperate times have required desperate measures for many years. Past Sprint CEO's only took half-measures that continued to mount up both increased debt and losses to get to this point at which the junk bond market will no longer loan Sprint funds or will only do so at such exorbitant cost and secured by assets that it is worse than the deals provided by the parent company.
This provides time for Sprint to finally perform the often claimed in the past miracles. The current trends in sales, losses, debt service, competitive pressures, market saturation and difficulty of marketshare gains, etc. mean Sprint will go bankrupt if there is not a dramatic improvement in profitability. This may delay the day of reconning by a year. If improvement does not come and more assets for capital exchange is required, Sprint goes further down the road of a Zombie.. its blood sucked out it further becomes the walking dead. S must turn in clean profits of $2-4B/year. No major financial analyst thinks that is going to happen. I do not think it is possible and "Plan B" is now playing out: Softbank is exchanging financing of debt in exchange for survivable assets and operations. That helps Sprint lower/pay back principle on the debt while it enables them to better control the outcome come what may.
The statement by JP Morgan is even-handed. What does it say? What does it not say?
It says the deal looks favorable in light of the fact Sprint has very limited options to borrow money outside of a deal sponsored by the parent company, Softbank. This deal will work like a 'sliding scale' to judge its effectiveness and the impact on the overall credit rating. Prior statements fy two of the credit agencies said that it would be a conditional positive. The big condition is that the money will help, as the CFO hoped, to improve sales/cash flows and reduce debt dependencies. IF Sprint starts closing the gap between revenue and debt load, be that through deep cost cuts or through top line improvements, then the recent deals will turn out to improve Sprint's credit. Most of that will be because it gives Sprint a grace period for the cuts and balancing of networks to take place. There are few if any signs of substantial improvement in subscriber growth and no signs that sales growth has or will soon occur. Price cutting and sales promotions require subscriber growth just to keep sales the same. A large growth, 2-4 million per quarter repeatedly, are needed before topline growth is achieved to go beyond offsetting the lower price impacts.
The measures Softbank is taking are among the best choices currently available. They extend Sprint's financial life as a currently structured public company with the hope that drastic cost cutting and gradual network improvements will result in earnings growth. However, the ulterior motive is to secure Softbank's position in the critical network and consumer device parts of the business that legally have rights to survival if improvements do not result.
Shareholders must remember that asset rights are being set apart from their rights. If Sprint does not improve, their rights in a restructuring will have gone down as the articles mention.
Sorry, Softbank has not given Sprint 'free money'.