In 2013 Sprint CEO Dan Hesse had probably his busiest year at the helm of the carrier since he came on board in late 2007, and the company handsomely rewarded him for his efforts. Hesse scored a total compensation package of $49 million in 2013, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That figure is far above Hesse's 2012 compensation and made him easily the highest-paid executive in the wireless industry last year.
Sprint's shakeup of its network executive team is continuing, with longtime Sprint executive Iyad Tarazi leaving the company. His departure comes just weeks after Sprint announced that Steve Elfman, president of network operations, and Bob Azzi, the carrier's senior vice president of networks, would be leaving the company.
Sprint, the nation's third largest wireless operator, is largely finished with the mammoth Network Vision network modernization project it started more than three years ago. The result, however, is an LTE service that only covers around 200 million people and is, by most measurements, the nation's slowest. Compare this to T-Mobile, which covered roughly the same number of people with LTE in half the time as Sprint with speeds that often rank at or near the top. And T-Mobile is enjoying significant momentum thanks to its "uncarrier" branding. Nonetheless, Sprint executives are arguing that 2014 is "th e year" for Sprint. I think that remains to be seen.
Sprint's management and the wider company is in line with the thinking of its hard-charging chairman, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son--contrary to a recent report of friction between Son and some Sprint executives, according to Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer.
Sprint's team of technology and networks executives is receiving a major shakeup, with Steve Elfman, president of network operations at Sprint, and Bob Azzi, the carrier's senior vice president of networks, leaving the company. Meantime, John Saw, Clearwire's former CTO, has been promoted to Chief Network Officer of Sprint. Saw had previously been Sprint's senior vice president of technical architecture.
Sprint's subscriber numbers were bolstered by a surge in tablet activations, which Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer attributed to a variety of factors, including Sprint's introduction of installment pricing for tablets last fall and its holiday promotions.
Sprint added 477,000 customers in the fourth quarter, defying analysts' expectations that it would lose subscribers. However, after posting its first quarterly net profit since 2007 in the third quarter, the company swung back into the red in the fourth quarter with a loss of $1.04 billion.
LAS VEGAS--Sprint CTO Stephen Bye said that 2014 "is the year" for the nation's No. 3 wireless carrier. He said Sprint this year will complete its Network Vision LTE network upgrade and modernization project, and that it would roll out its high-speed "Sprint Spark" service to at least 100 million POPs.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse acknowledged that the carrier is still working through its Network Vision network upgrade, and that as it replaces equipment to improve its network, customers will see degradations in service and Sprint will see higher churn as a result. However, he said that Sprint's tri-mode LTE service, dubbed "Sprint Spark," which is just getting underway, will provide the kind of speed differentiation that will set Sprint apart.
Sprint indicated that its Sprint Spark tri-mode LTE service is up and running Chicago, and the carrier touted the network improvements it has made in the market, in what could be a prelude to a wider marketing campaign about its network.