T-Mobile is unlikely to weaken. They have a better network, spectrum and build momentum.. and a better grasp of how to use the technology than Sprint has displayed. Sprint can only hope to reverse the loss of subs and, perhaps, make modest gains as part of overall industry growth. That's the limit until they change what the fools have been doing in the network ... for all these years. T-Mobile's CTO had reason to scoff at Sprint's claims for Network Vision and Spark... Neville wasn't just blowing typical executive buttock air.
Canada has less people than the state of California (35 vs 38 mil). Consolidation down to three makes more sense when the population is so thin. The argument doesn't carry weight with US regulators.
Marketing slogans are a waste of everyone's time. Sprint is NOT recognized for delivering the best customer experience because the networks are a patch-work of uneven coverage that still needs work. First Sprint has to deliver by using their resources better than competitors before the service will actually be better than competitors. Customer service can't fix basic problems ... but it certainly can be improved.
Bold statements such as "Sprint aims to be recognized for providing the best wireless customer experience in the industry and we continue to make great strides. " has to be backed up. Much of the problem of Sprint's loss of subscribers is not the fault of customer service... its the fault of the network. It is not something that will get fixed with completion of NetworkVision/Spark.
Sprint has to stop the high level bullshisa and level with analysts and consumers. Or forgetaboutit.. so much wasted air.
Financial community and funds are likely to temper their thinking about the impacts of the hyped up 'price war' and where Sprint can go from here so that there is a relief of downward price pressure imo. Sprint is most likely to move up a bit into a new range.
Potential shocks or stimulus:
T-Mobile could arrange to acquire or partner with DISH, removing a way for Sprint to more efficiently exploit 2.6Ghz network development for both mobile and home broadband and removing a way for S to better balance their spectrum portfolio.
The FCC faces a new lawsuit by broadcasters opposed to portions of the upcoming 600MHz incentive auction. If not shut down by the court or agreed out of court, this has the potential to delay the auction by a year or more. Its now expected in the 2nd half of next year. Sprint needs 600MHz more than any other operator imo.. because it would provide greatly improved coverage and balance for greater/better combined use of the 2.6GHz band.
The competitors could react to S and T-mo with further price cuts.
Sprint can expand their relationship or acquire DISH. See above for benefits.
The FCC and DoJ have reason to become accommodative of reasonable actions of S, DISH and TMUS to partner, acquire spectrum, etc.
I think that the chance for the industry to plunge into true 'price wars' is low, maybe 15%. Its why I think the sector is now a fair buying opportunity, Sprint included.
The stock is beat down such that few events hold the potential to send if down further. New management is in, old thinking may be on the way out. LTE-Advanced network technology is more available along with devices. While exceeding competitors is not in the cards, keeping modestly in pace with them, despite ongoing issues, is, for the near term, feasible and is open to further steps.
"Necessity is the mother of invention" Sprint/SB need to invent, not marketing gamesmanship. Will Son press hard enough?
Sprint has been a real #$%$ to raising hopes of shareholders with marketing gimmick slogans that are me-too vaporware. A #$%$ to the once held promise of being a leader in the new generation of 'revolutionary' wireless technologies. Sprint makes 1/500,000 use of 2.6GHz compared to nearby 2.4GHz Wi-Fi with its constraints on power and access methods - (comparing data traffic estimates on 2.4GHz WiFi vs. the 2.5-6GHz band and adjusting for relative band size). That remains an untapped potential waiting for the proper approach to unlocking it unique to the American deployment scenario and market.
Where to from here?
1. Softbank/Son has a good handle on use of technologies. He may regret the decision to acquire Sprint as there are no quick fixes other than ground up investment, partnership building efforts, acquiring and building out more spectrum that can be game changers over a period of about five years. The saving grace for investors is Masa Son/SB is a long term strategic player.
2. Sprint can level off right despite needing a longer term fix of the core network-spectrum mix. The 'price wars' are a 'me too' price adjustment which is the appropriate course to take until a new direction can be set in place.
3. Sprint has ops to pursue partnerships with DISH or use similar deployment strategies. This remains a relatively very open-ended opportunity for development of a full compliment of network and consumer equipment and devices. Softbank knows how its been done in Japan but must adapt the approach and go further in building a comprehensive network and device deployment set. Thus far, we are seeing only vague baby steps come out of the Sprint acquisition. Masa Son has to be #$%$ as hello .. to the point he is more likely to pull actions together that result in a 'better direction' for networks and multiple level of devices... or the guy is an idiot (we are all idiots.. just sometimes more than at others).
There are several aspects to building out the new generation of 4G and beyond 4G, B4G networks. LTE-Advanced is the first 'true 4G' network platform. In fact, prior LTE is approved to ITU IMT-2000 rather than IMT-Advanced. All 3G networks in use comply with IMT-2000. All 'true 4G' networks comply with IMT-A including LTE-Advanced. Some are calling that 4.5G because marketing wonks used 4G for pre-4G LTE. Anyway...
Its important to understand that the benefits of the new LTE platform are at early ages of development: I say ages to point out that the evolving technology platform will likely be around for at least 20 years with backward compatibility as remains needed rather than rip and replace as with each past generation. (Of course, new/improved equipment will cause replacement over time).
4G+ is as much or more about how the technology is used across spectrum than it is about generations of technology. Its similar, from a simple perspective, to the progression of WiFi: It started out as a way to connect up just a few computers with, at best, 11bps speeds. It has progressed to deliver, real world, better than 110Mbps rates using no more spectrum while covering wider areas. The cost of the equipment is the same or lower than when it first came out.. despite ~15 years of economic inflation.
What has made WiFi over 20X more efficient, probably 50X-100X more cost efficient than 15 years ago is not having more spectrum but making better use of it. Sprint supply of nearby 2.6Ghz spectrum when compared with that looks like crapola. That is because Sprint fails to use the 'spatial domain' of wireless or the user's contribution to deployment at higher frequencies. However, there is nothing that prevents that from happening to similar unleash that 50X-100X improvement in performance using teh 2.6GHz except brain-deadness at Sprint.
Good set of questions.
There is no 'price war' because the pricing is targeted and, as mentioned, is only slightly different than previously offered by T-Mobile. This was obviously calibrated not to cause a 'price war' but, instead, as a metered way to stem the tide of subscriber losses. Sprint's network(s) ranks lowest because of basic differences in spectrum frequencies and size of the bands used in each of the low, mid and high bands. Also, Sprint is latter in converting to the mainstream because they started out as the oddball set of networks and spectrum. Sprint is changing stripes in what they deploy if now how they deploy: they are converting networks to LTE and will eventually be all LTE some five or so years from now.
Each new generation of network is similar to what used to happen with PCs with each new generation of processors: the new generation of processors was needed in order to use the new applications such as artery clogging Microsoft Office, graphics apps like Adobe Photoshop and for all the virus and malware apps not to bog down the PC. Each new generation also inspired the bloatware suppliers to make their browsers, office suites, graphics and other apps more feature rich in order to attract more users and upgrades.. which eventually led to bogging down PCs so that a next generation of processors, more memory, bigger disk drives, and also higher bandwidth Internet connections were needed. PCs are now pretty mature of a platform unless you are running servers or game apps.
Wireless networks increase capacity in raw measures like bandwidth and also in higher routing efficiencies.. ie. lower latency & jitter, more flexibility and software defined methodology, etc. That includes better and lower cost management of network elements, lower site maintenance and construction costs.. leading to lower cost per bit similar to the lower cost per capacity in PCs. A real revolution has been taking place in cost/bit.
BTW, another way to use crowdsourcing is to use an equipment box: smartphone with network data gathering application arranged for remote monitoring and control shoved into a box with batteries. These can be put onto busses, freight trucks, trains, cab cars, shuttle busses, etc. as common carriage or under contract.
What are these boards useful for? If its to find people that agree with your decision to buy or short the stock.. a 'feel good' ego booting club, then it looks like its working well. If a person comes here as an contributed exchange of reference information, links, and ideas to build a timely understanding of the industry and company, then they need to start with a high degree of skepticism. Stock exchanges are among the most liquid way to make or lose money.. easy peasy... come or gone. That is dangerous.. I know firsthand how easy it is to be up big and go down big. Even if you are right about the long term prospects, long or short, its easy to be wrong enough about the short term to lose your head and your money in the short-near term.
My view of how to use these boards is like a scratch pad for information and sharing of ideas. There are, from time to time, very clever insights that are shared from a variety of perspectives. Even if I disagree with the poster's manin bent, there are often nuggets of useful information. Quick read of the boards also provides one way to judge the pulse of sentiment on stocks, the sectors and markets. What people don't know and don't focus on is sometimes as or more important than what they are focused.
The RootMetrics and two other published reports use 'crowdsourcing' combined with their own or contracted equipped cars/vans as the method of gathering data. Crowdsourcing is a term for using mobile applications to gather data. This can include from specialized to very popular applications including Waze, and Google maps can gather some network data besides the map related info. A category of Android and iPhone apps allow users to check their network's signal strength and can measure some quality and bandwidth measurements. And RootMetrics, Opensignal, Mozaic/Cellmaps, and other companies that provide cell phone coverage mapping services have their own apps (search Android apps for the above names). There are a couple open-source projects for recording mobile network information into databases that can be used in spreadsheets, mapping or custom programs.
Crowdsourcing of data can be very timely if the company compiling the reports/graphs has a large enough number of people using the applications to gather data. The commercial grade service companies like RootMetrics periodically or under contract do their own/contracted drive programs through the major metro and highway routes. The surveys can log 100s of thousands of miles each reporting period.
Other studies include in-building testing in addition to drive-by testing. This provides a more complete understanding of how the operators provide complete coverage, bandwidth and quality of service.
Sprint ranks lowest and that is unlikely to be changed soon. The quality will increase as shown in the last survey. However, so too with that of competitors. Moreover, Sprint won't change the 'lumpy gravy' nature of their service anytime soon, perhaps not for another three years or more under current castrated macrocell plans and spectrum.
Is it really slashing of prices? There's more check boxes to the offer than across the board cuts. Sprint the tied with 4th largest carrier, is likely to stem the tide of defections but unlikely to mount a significant grab for marketshare imo. As such, its stands to work out modestly in the favor of investors.
'S is offering one of the best deals on the market' is correct... its in there with T-Mobile and can compete under certain conditions such as the limited time offer and whether a person lives in a good coverage area.
Your post is unqualified: Sprint is not approaching BK, in fact the financial performance has improved substantially. The new plans are targeted at new customers and, thus, will not likely have a dramatic impact on sales that is not otherwise offset by cost cuts. Sprint has long been the industry laggard in performance of networks, execution, acquisitions, and application of technology in ways that deliver benefits. However, there problems are out on the table with new management and patent company at the helm. The current stock price is likely to rebound for technical reasons and perhaps some rebuilding of faith in the company's prospects going forward.
The 'made up numbers in some test' are not made up similar to many opinions found here. The RootMetrics and other 'tests' are network surveys that are performed using 'real world' measurements using mobile phones.
The quality of the network does vary... its 'lumpy gravy'. If the service is good people in that area are more likely to stick with or become customers of Sprint. Where its not as good to satisfy the growing needs of consumers, Sprint faces more defections to other operators.
Idiot, there is no bear raid or whatever you wish to call it. This the stock market. Most of S stock outside of Softbank is owned by institutions. The ~5% that is held by small investors had best be on whatever side has the upper hand. Sprint stock is down because the company performance has been low for a number of years. Sprint is up since prior to being rescued from oblivion by Softbank and is still almost 2.5 times its prior low. Short sellers sold short because ShareZombies bought wild and crazy to the upside. Sprint has had problems all along that have needed to be overcome. The pursuit of T-Mobile was an attempt to sidestep the issues rather than face them directly. It washed out as short sellers apparently thought likely or they would otherwise have covered. Those who were long and didn't take profits or put in stop-loss orders were playing with fire largely of their own making. Who pumped the stock when it reached 9, 10, 11, not the short sellers. Or maybe they did. 'Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men" - watching too many comic book based movies lately. In any case, those who failed to profit from the run up from sub 2$ to over 10, a 5X gain, have only themselves to blame.
"There were short sellers who loaded up when the stock was high... I should have joined them or, at least, taken profits. I, Mr. Long am to blame for actions I take, no one else" How often do you see a statement like that posted by ShareZombies?
People sold more than the bought. Blaming the decline on shorts is worthless unless it helps in making decisions before they happen.... juvenile if it is just used to excuse the fact that the stock went down following the first part of what was said to be a major announcement.
Sprint could not have won a big victory either way they would have gone in the price plan announcement: If too aggressive analysts and investors would have been put off by the impact on sales and margins and possibility of waking up the BORG ships to respond with price cutting that they can more easily afford than cash-flow impoverished Sprint or T-Mobile. The two dirt yard dogs can only press competition within the bounds of their network capacity and cost structure. Even so, if Sprint strips out their costs too deeply that they either wreck customer service or impoverish network improvements and expansion, they will be consumed by lighting the candle at both ends. I view the new plans as metered rather than shocking. That is made much more so by the position competitors view Sprint... as continuing to be losing rather than grabbing marketshare and, thus, not so much a threat to their top line growth that they must react in such a way that they shoot themselves in the foot unnecessarily.
Masa Son/Softbank have to figure whether that would be a good investment and lead to enough control of TMUS to do more than act as a major investor, which isn't that much unless its welcomed participation by DT and the TMUS BOD and management, which does not seem likely. The problem with gaining control is that the regulators will not allow Softbank to orchestrate collaboration between Sprint and T-Mobile that is not approved. I say, 'will not allow' with the knowledge that some things can/have happened in corporate history in which regulators did not block step-wise actions even though these violated policy to some degree. The FCC chairman already indicated that he would not let any of the four major operators form a spectrum consortium to acquire spectrum in the upcoming auctions. This may appear muddled to some observers: the FCC, on the other hand, will allow smaller operators such as NetAmerica Alliance to build out common networks including with Sprint or, probably, form or participate in a spectrum consortium, even one that is funded, in part, by Sprint or T-Mobile so long as there is a wall that prevents the funding parties direct control over the use of the spectrum. The reason why this is so is because the regulators overriding policy directives is to promote actions that are pro-competitive. A consortium, even if the majority of funding originated or was partially underwritten by Softbank/Sprint, would be allowed imo so long as it benefitted the small operators or, alternatively, established a network partnership owned under a trust arrangement outside of direct control and ownership of the sponsors.
Softbank might invest into T-Mobile but they would not likely try to do more than that under current circumstances. Perhaps the motivation would be to gain a toehold they hope would help if and when circumstances favoring regulatory approvals change.
Sprint's management needed a cattle prod to the arses a long time ago.. I tried to put it there and they just ignored it... maybe they purposely went down the road to this dead-end? Clearlywired was wired to fail. Sprint was set up to fail by past decisions, poor engineering of innovation into the business from the network up. Their failure is all the condemnation they deserve.. what I have said about it is just some guy posting on a web board.. or writing reports and giving advice. Its their fault, not mine that they did not want to listen and ask about what could have been done to build up a step-wise progression from WiMAX to LTE that would have established, similar to Softbank's Willcom, large numbers of smallcell sites from which to latter stage multimode LTE deployments.
Bash, bash, bash.. those Sprint managers continued to bash right thinking people with apologetic mantras of 8x8 macrocells up until that has proven unable to compete cost effectively. They may continue to make excuses even after cleaning house. Or, perhaps, the new CEO will led chips fall were they may and take decisive action along with Softbank's help. Its never too late despite several years lost time
Sprint's chart continues to look bullish since leveling off, more or less, after the initial post T-Mobile acquisition plunge. From a trend trading and mid term investment perspective, Sprint is a buy/accumulate. The usual rules of investing apply.. better to wait for a move up to start than hold or start 'averaging in' at this price level.
The quick assessment that competitors will jump down the slippery slope of a price war to defend marketshare against the price competition and attacks on contract subscribers by T-Mobile and, now, Sprint, are largely wrong. Some of that is simply because exaggeration makes good headlines to attract eyeballs of readers/viewers to sell advertising. What your seventh grade teacher probably told you in your consumer education class was not to take advertising at face value... that the media is wild and likes to reach into your pocket about as much as politicians and doctors.
The impact of recent events has the media 'picking on' Sprint. While a lot of that is long deserved, after all, I'm one of the longest them, the impact of Sprint's much heralded price cuts is not going to so much rattle Verizon's cage as to cause them to drastically lower prices... while AT&T might react similar to previously with T-Mobile - selective price cuts rather than jumping off of the cliff into a 'price war'.
How do I know this? By understanding of the operators positions and past actions. More recently the results have come in to support that thinking: look at the financial results of the top four: Verizon has not been harmed.. sales/ARPUs and margins have come in better than expected. AT&T was only slightly impacted - they lost consumer share while maintaining margins and share across the bulk of the business. T-Mobile came in with higher sales, marketshare gains and profits earlier and better than expected. Sprint came in better than expected on the bottom line due to cost cuts but continued to lose core postpaid subscribers.
A look at the new price plans shows that this is not so dramatic as suggested by the CEO. Its a metered campaign designed to hold onto and perhaps gains some net subscribers.
The reason why Verizon and AT&T will not react precipitously is simple: They freaken don't have to. Why give up profit when they are not losing much share? Metered response