Verizon and AT&T will likely report slowing growth during the first quarter, according to analysts at Evercore ISI, while Sprint's creative accounting will help the beleaguered carrier avoid bankruptcy for at least the next few months. And T-Mobile will probably post even larger subscriber gains that it had predicted.
T-Mobile introduced a temporary promotion offering two lines of service with 6 GB of monthly LTE data each and unlimited talk and text for $80 a month.
Sprint's announcement that it will use its network gear as collateral to borrow $2.2 billion from "external investors" including its parent SoftBank closely mirrors its strategy of establishing a handset leasing company to take costs off its balance sheet and provide more liquidity. And analysts say other similar deals are likely in the works.
Sprint announced it will raise roughly $2.2 billion by selling some of its equipment at its cell towers to a new entity, Network LeaseCo, which the company described as "several bankruptcy remote entities." Under the complex transaction, Network LeaseCo will lease the equipment back to Sprint, and the equipment will be used as collateral for Sprint to borrow $2.2 billion from "external investors," including SoftBank, Sprint said.
Scratch Wireless, an MVNO on Sprint's network that launched in 2013 with a Wi-Fi-first mobile service model, is no longer selling its services to new customers as it works on unspecified new products and services.
Sprint is teaming with Amazon on a promotion enabling customers to pay for a monthly subscription to Amazon Prime on their mobile bills. But they'll have to pay more to do so.
Sprint experienced "a major network outage" in the Northeast U.S. this morning, according to DSL Reports. The outage, which Sprint addressed in a series of tweets, appears to affect 3G and 4G voice and data services in markets including Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Sprint once again revived its 30-day money-back guarantee in an effort to convince users that its network is competitive with its bigger competitors.
Slower handset upgrade cycles will take a toll on U.S. carriers' device revenues during the first quarter, according to Wells Fargo Securities analysts. For the short term, at least, that will make it tougher for T-Mobile and Sprint to close the subscriber gap with their bigger rivals.
Sprint began using a third-party service called Progressive Finance a few weeks ago in an effort to sell phones at retail to customers without a credit check while minimizing the risk of bad debt. And according to Wave7 Research, the carrier has begun extending the offering to some of its dealer partners.