For the last couple of years, some have viewed Sprint as the Rodney Dangerfield of wireless. Indeed, the carrier has seen mostly negative press and perception ranging from subscriber losses to poor network execution to unfortunate technology selection, to M&A problems, and the list goes on. Add in a negative macroeconomic environment, unprecedented competition and some bad luck contributed to keeping Sprint down. Here's how I think Sprint got to its "no respect" predicament.
Network shutdowns are a way of life in the wireless industry, as technologies evolve and advance, and one era gives way to the next. Wireless carriers have been shutting down legacy networks for more than a decade and the shuttering will continue this year.
Sprint told the FCC that its rebanding efforts in the 800 MHz band are nearing completion, according to a filing the carrier made with the commission. The declaration comes nearly a decade after the FCC ordered the rebanding of the 800 MHz band to alleviate interference to public-safety licensees in 800 MHz band caused by commercial cellular licensees.
Motorola Solutions, bolstered by its early success in public-safety LTE, is selling off its enterprise business to Zebra Technologies for $3.45 billion cash, enabling Motorola to focus exclusively on mission-critical communications for government and public-safety customers.
SouthernLinc, a smaller wireless carrier that provides service in parts of Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi, said it has committed to maintaining its iDEN network through at least 2020. The company said it made the commitment in order to assure its customers--which include public safety workers, utilities workers and others--that they will continue to be able to use their SouthernLinc service in the years ahead.
Sprint has no intention of bringing back the Nextel brand for enterprise customers, despite recent rumors to the contrary, the company confirmed to FierceWireless.
Sprint may be bringing back the Nextel brand to lure enterprise customers back into the fold, according to a TechCrunch report. The report, which cited an unnamed source familiar with the company's plans, also said that Sprint may merge its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile prepaid brands into a new brand dubbed "Sprint Freedom."
Sprint posted its first quarterly net profit since 2007 in the third quarter under new ownership of Japanese parent SoftBank. However, the carrier still lost subscribers as the hangover from its shutdown of the Nextel network at the end of the second quarter continued to hurt its results.
Sprint said it will cut around 800 customer service jobs nationwide in the first major reorganization of the company since SoftBank took over control of the carrier in July. Sprint said the cuts are being made primarily because it has been receiving fewer calls to customer care.
U.S. wireless carriers added the lowest number of net new subscribers on record--139,000--in the second quarter, owing in large part to Sprint's shutdown of its Nextel iDEN network, according to a new report from Chetan Sharma Consulting.