Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure and Chairman Masayoshi Son have spent the last month and a half proclaiming that they have faith in Sprint and its turnaround efforts, with SoftBank snapping up shares in a show of confidence. However, some in the investment community are not as sure, and Moody's Investors Service downgraded its credit ratings on Sprint, saying that the carrier is not doing enough to right itself.
LAS VEGAS-- Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said that the carrier's recent improvement of its network in Denver-- and network testing firm RootMetrics' determination that it provided the fastest network there and virtually tied Verizon Wireless for overall network performance – is a sign of things to come as the carrier revamps its network.
While the other big U.S. nationwide wireless operators have lodged their opinions in the great LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U)/Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) debate, Sprint has been quiet on the topic. Of course, it's got plenty of other things going on, but it's somewhat curious because the company plays in both the Wi-Fi and LTE camps.
Sprint parent SoftBank's recent purchases of the carrier's shares have boosted its stock price up around 50 percent since before starting the buying spree in August. The share purchases are a reflection of SoftBank's confidence and have added $6.7 billion to Sprint's market value since Aug. 7.
Sprint parent SoftBank bought around $87 million more shares in the carrier, a sign of confidence that SoftBank is standing behind Sprint as the company continues its turnaround push.
Over the past year top executives from Sprint parent SoftBank floated the possibility of selling Sprint to both Comcast and European telecom firm Altice, according to a Wall Street Journal report, which cited unnamed sources. The efforts never went anywhere and SoftBank CEO and Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son has firmly backed Sprint, but turning around the carrier has been anything but smooth for Son and SoftBank.
Sprint parent SoftBank considered selling Sprint at one point but is resolutely backing the carrier now, according to SoftBank CEO and Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son. Meanwhile, financial analysts are divided around how much the leasing arrangements for handsets and network gear Sprint and SoftBank are creating will help Sprint.
Former Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said he regrets causing so much disruption to Sprint customers' service as Sprint plowed through its Network Vision network modernization in 2013 and into 2014. However, he said despite the pain for customers, which was more than he had anticipated, Sprint's network upgrade laid the foundation for what will be a "spectacular" network.
Sprint (NYSE: S) revealed a few more details about its network densification efforts but did not disclose its vendor partners for the project or exactly how many macro cell sites and small cells it will add to its network. However, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said that "nearly all" of Sprint's existing macro cell sites will be upgraded to support 800 MHz, 1900 MHz and 2.5 GHz for LTE, which he said will improve coverage and capacity across the network.
Sprint lost its spot as the No. 3 carrier in the U.S. market to T-Mobile US in terms of total subscribers during the second quarter. However, Sprint also noted it is continuing to make progress on its turnaround and said it added postpaid phone customers in May and June and recorded its best-ever Sprint platform postpaid churn.