Sprint is moving away from WiMAX and switching to LTE for 4G service — but its plans won't be realized until 2013. The carrier has been behind the 8 ball after Verizon and AT&T beat it to the punch on LTE, but it's playing catch up by partnering with LightSquared and possibly Clearwire to ensure it can make the switch.
Oct 30, 2013
After a financially rough second quarter, Sprint's fortunes have improved somewhat over the past three months. The company recorded a net income of $383 million in Q3 2013, though operationally it's still not in the black, with a $398 million operating loss. The odd numbers are explained by Sprint recording a one-time $1.45 billion gain related to its Clearwire dealings.Read Article >
The nation's third-largest carrier sold nearly 1.4 million iPhones over the reported period, with 40 percent of them going to new customers. The all-important Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) metric reached a record for postpaid Sprint customers, however the bad news is that Sprint now has 360,000 fewer of those than when the quarter began.
Jul 11, 2013
Sprint Nextel is no more. Japan's SoftBank completed its protracted takeover of the US's third largest mobile carrier today, giving it a controlling stake in what is now Sprint Corporation. The deal is worth $21.6 billion, including $5 billion in cash to boost the company's balance sheet and $16.6 billion to be distributed to Sprint shareholders.Read Article >
The name change removes an albatross that had long hung around Sprint's neck following its $36 billion acquisition of Nextel in 2005. After failing to successfully integrate the two networks, Sprint wrote off $29.7 billion on the purchase in 2008, wiping out over 80 percent of Nextel's value. Nextel's iDEN push-to-talk network was shut down at the end of last month.
Jun 29, 2013
This Sunday, just after midnight, Sprint will finally pull the plug on the legacy push-to-talk iDEN network it inherited when it purchased Nextel. The move is designed to free up spectrum and cell towers for the carrier's growing LTE network. That means the last full day of iDEN service, for those still using phones running on the network, is Saturday. After that, iDEN devices won't work — even to make 911 calls.Read Article >
Sprint pulled all iDEN phones from its stores shelves last year, and has been warning of the impending shutdown since 2010. The carrier has been pushing its CDMA Direct Connect network as the replacement for iDEN, because it features push-to-talk service and has about three times the coverage area of iDEN. At its peak, iDEN was used by about 6 million subscribers in the US. Sprint hasn't said how many are still connecting to the lame-duck network. But if you're one of those out there with an iDEN handset and haven't yet gotten the message, it's time to head into a Sprint store.
Jun 18, 2013
Dish scored a major coup in its efforts to scoop up Sprint acquisition target Clearwire last week when it won the support of Clearwire’s board. Today, Sprint is firing back in court with allegations that the proposed Dish deal would be illegal. "DISH has repeatedly attempted to fool Clearwire’s shareholders into believing its proposal was actionable in an effort to acquire Clearwire’s spectrum and to obstruct Sprint’s transaction with Clearwire," it wrote in a press release.Read Article >
Jun 17, 2013
Sprint may be in the middle of a complicated set of acquisitions and mergers, but it's continuing to build out its LTE network. The company says that it has activated LTE service in 22 US cities today, including Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, and Raleigh, bringing its network footprint to 110 markets around the country. That compares to 278 LTE markets for AT&T and 497 for Verizon Wireless, which was the first to build the high-speed cellular network across the country. T-Mobile's nascent LTE network only covers seven cities. Today's announcement still leaves Sprint with major holes in its LTE coverage, however, with cities like New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and many more without service. Some users have seen LTE connectivity in these cities, but Sprint is testing its cell sites and service isn't widespread or reliable enough for an official launch. The company plans to have 200 million people covered with service by the end of the year.Read Article >
Jun 17, 2013
Samsung is planning to release a variant of the Galaxy S4 that supports LTE Advanced (LTE-A), the next generation of superfast mobile data. The device will come to South Korea within weeks, Samsung Mobile head J.K. Shin tells Reuters. The updated device could prop sales of its flagship up as Apple and other competitors bring new smartphones to the market. J.K. Shin also confirmed Samsung is in talks with "several overseas carriers" to sell the new phone, but refused to confirm where and when the device would go on sale outside of Korea.Read Article >
Often referred to as "true 4G" — present LTE doesn't meet the original requirements laid out for a next-generation network — LTE-A has been in development for years and is already live in some parts of Russia. The standard has theoretical peak rates of around 3Gbps download and 1.5Gbps upload, but real-world networks will be far slower. Yota, the Russian carrier that was first to launch LTE-A, markets its network as 300Mbps, and the US rollout is expected to be rated at 150Mbps. In preparation for upcoming carrier upgrades, several manufacturers have already announced LTE-A radios for smartphones. Qualcomm, Nvidia, Broadcom, and ST-Ericsson all have chips coming this year that are compatible with the next-gen networks. Those chips won't do much good without a network to access, however, and the LTE-A situation in the US is still a little unclear.
May 30, 2013
As Friday’s shareholder vote approaches, the competition for Clearwire’s spectrum continues to heat up, with Dish upping its bid to $4.40 a share in cash — nearly a third higher than Sprint’s $3.40 bid from just last week, reports The Wall Street Journal. But while Dish is throwing out the higher dollar figure, the would-be deal is muddled by the fact that Sprint already owns half of Clearwire, and has had a standing agreement to buy the remainder since last year. As The Wall Street Journal points out, any deal would require Sprint to sign off, and while the financial incentives could make it worthwhile in the short term, Sprint and its potential parent SoftBank desperately need the additional spectrum to complete their vision for a nationwide LTE network.Read Article >
Sprint has previously said that $3.40 is its "best and final offer" for Clearwire stock, so chances are slim for a counteroffer before Friday’s vote. Since early this year, Dish and SoftBank have been locked in a battle to acquire both Sprint and Clearwire, with the boards of both target companies siding against Dish’s ostensibly higher offers. Both Sprint’s offer to acquire Clearwire and SoftBank’s offer to acquire Sprint are scheduled to be voted on within the next couple of weeks, with the latter just getting clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investment following Dish’s media campaign to fend off the deal.
May 21, 2013
Sprint has just announced two mobile hotspots and a USB modem from Novatel and Netgear that are the company's first devices with tri-band LTE, meaning they're able top operate on the 800, 1900, and 2500MHz bands. Most of its existing devices support 1900MHz alone, which is the only band of LTE that Sprint has currently deployed.Read Article >
May 21, 2013
It's an understatement to say that Sprint is in a period of transition — both Softbank and Dish are trying to buy the nation's third-largest wireless carrier. At the same time, Sprint and Dish are both trying to purchase Clearwire, and Sprint has just made a strong play for that spectrum. The carrier has just submitted a new, increased offer for Clearwire — the carrier is now offering $3.40 per share of the company that Sprint doesn't already own. That's up from the $2.97 Sprint initially offered and would value Clearwire as a whole at $10.7 billion — and it's a bit better than the $3.30 per share that Dish offered in its acquisition bid.Read Article >
Sprint says that this is its "best and final offer," so there's not much to do but wait for Clearwire's board to make a determination. Regardless of what happens, though, it's clear that Sprint will look like a much different company in the coming months, but there's no way to say exactly how. Will Dish manage to purchase both Sprint and Clearwire, setting itself up to diversify beyond the satellite TV service it is known for, or will Sprint pick up the half of Clearwire it doesn't already own and then be sold off to Softbank? We'll be watching to see how all this drama plays out.
Apr 18, 2013Read Article >
Sprint still has plenty of work to do before its LTE network can match the coverage Verizon and AT&T offer, but the carrier's latest rollout manages to scratch a few major cities off the list. The carrier has announced that it's today lighting up service in 21 cities including Los Angeles, Memphis, and Charlotte, North Carolina. From there, the new markets get a bit smaller in scope and population. In all, with today's additions Sprint's still-young LTE network is now available in 88 markets. America's number three carrier is also mapping out new destinations where it will enable high-speed data by the end of 2013. 34 markets in all have joined Sprint's existing roadmap, including Orlando, Portland, and Spokane.
Feb 18, 2013
Sprint has switched on its 4G LTE network in some pockets of San Francisco, New York City (and other parts of New York State), Washington, DC and some "cities in Florida," including Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa, as spokesperson Kelly Schlageter told The Verge via email on Monday. Sprint began turning on 4G LTE in San Francisco about a month ago, but coverage across the city remains spotty for now, as Engadget observed when testing devices on a drive through the city.Read Article >
"Deployment is just beginning in San Francisco," Schlageter wrote. "Coverage area is somewhat hard to describe at this stage because sites generally aren't contiguous. There are sites on air in and around SF, kind of like popcorn."
Dec 18, 2012
Sprint announced today that its 4G LTE service is now available in the Chicago metro area, Indianapolis, Ind., and five other markets in California, Puerto Rico, and Pennsylvania. Earlier this year, the carrier revealed that LTE was already available in the suburban communities surrounding the Chicago metro area.Read Article >
Of the three major networks in the US that have launched LTE (AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint), Sprint is far behind its competitors in terms of actual coverage. Sprint says that it now covers a total of 49 markets, which is a fraction of the 400-plus covered by Verizon's LTE network, and is far behind AT&T's still-growing LTE map. The one thing that Sprint does offer, and the other carriers don't, is an unlimited data plan for its LTE service. Sprint may be well behind the others in rolling out its LTE network, but according to CEO Dan Hesse, the carrier's plan is to "do the right thing" and offer services that it feels are valuable to its customers. With its new Japanese owners and plans to acquire Clearwire, Sprint may have enough firepower to go toe to toe with the Verizon and AT&T duopoly in the next couple of years.
Dec 17, 2012
Sprint today announced that it will purchase Clearwire outright for $2.97 per share, or roughly $2.2 billion. Although the deal still has to pass through regulatory approval, Sprint calls the agreement "definitive" and has outlined its plans for the carrier: as expected, it will use Clearwire's 2.5 GHz spectrum to augment its 4G LTE network. Clearwire CEO and President Erik Prusch said that the move was "the best path forward" for his company. In a written statement accompanying the announcement, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said:Read Article >
The $2.2 billion purchase is around $100 million larger than Sprint's initial offer for the shares. Today's takeover comes just two months after the carrier acquired a controlling stake in Clearwire. At the time, Sprint's owner SoftBank reportedly declared that it wanted full control over Clearwire's "vast reserves of spectrum." Despite already owning around 50 percent of Clearwire's shares, Sprint still needed the approval of the majority of the remaining shareholders for the acquisition to be approved.
Dec 11, 2012Read Article >
Sprint, Clearwire, and SoftBank have had a busy couple of months, and it looks like things aren't going to settle down for a while longer. CNBC's David Faber has revealed that Sprint and Clearwire are in "active negotiations" for the wireless carrier to purchase the remaining 49 percent or so of Clearwire it doesn't yet own. The deal is rumored to be announced before the end of the year. Sprint acquired a majority stake in Clearwire back in October, bringing its total ownership to 50.8 percent. That move was said to be a condition of Softbank's takeover of Sprint, which was also announced in October of this year. Sprint's LTE plans rely on Clearwire, and a complete acquisition would allow it to control the company's valuable spectrum.
Nov 7, 2012
Sprint may soon be acquired by Softbank, but it's making some purchases of its own: it's just spent $480 million for spectrum and customers from regional carrier US Cellular. The deal, which is expected to close in mid-2013, will transfer 585,000 US Cellular subscribers in Chicago, St. Louis, central Illinois, and three other Midwest markets to Sprint. It will also give Sprint 30MHz of spectrum in the 1900MHz band — that's one of the bands Sprint is using for its fledgling LTE network, which just expanded to the Chicago suburbs.Read Article >
For now, US Cellular customers will remain on their carrier. If the purchase — which still needs to be approved by US regulators — proceeds as expected, they'll be given more information next year. On an FAQ page, US Cellular said it was selling the markets in part because "we aren’t reaching the rate of profitable customer growth we need to justify continuing to make investments." Given that the sale amounts to around 10 percent of its total subscriber base, we wonder if bigger changes are on the way.
Oct 25, 2012
Just a day after Apple announced it would be bringing the iPad and iPad mini to Sprint, the carrier has announced a new set of data plans that it says will offer customers 20 percent more data that its US competitors for the same pricing.Read Article >
Sprint is offering four flavors of the new no-contract plans, starting at $14.99 for 300MB of data per month, and ranging all the way up to 12GB of data for $79.99. Sprint has also said it won't be charging activation fees for new 3G or LTE tablet customers for the time being (no information was provided on how long that promotion will last). We're including a full run-down of the pricing plans below.
Oct 22, 2012Read Article >
Sprint's steadily growing LTE service now covers more than 30 markets, with a number of smaller areas added today. Subscribers in the suburbs surrounding Chicago now have access to the carrier's high speed wireless connection, as well as those in Wichita Falls, Texas; New Bedford/Fall River, Massachusetts; and Hutchinson and McPherson, Kansas. Chicago proper, Los Angeles, and New York have received improved 3G coverage, but these cities, among many others, are still on the waiting list for the full upgrade. Sprint plans to roll out LTE to 115 additional cities "in the coming months" — expansion beyond that time frame should prove to be easier for the company with its recent $20.1 billion acquisition by Japanese carrier SoftBank.
Sep 10, 2012
Sprint just announced that its new LTE network will be coming to over 100 major cities around the US, though it's still not clear exactly when the service will be activated. Customers in major metropolitan areas like New York City, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, and many more will see LTE turned on "in the coming months." Unfortunately, that's as much detail as Sprint is offering right now, so there's no way to say when exactly customers will start to see the benefits of this new network. Sprint also noted that service may be activated in these cities ahead of an official announcement, much as it did earlier this year for the company's first launch markets.Read Article >
As the end of 2012 isn't terribly far off, we expect the majority of this rollout to take place throughout the next calendar year. Indeed, Sprint noted that it expects to have its LTE rollout complete by the end of 2013 — so if you're a customer in one of the many cities Sprint lists, it might be worth buying an LTE-capable handset next time out. Check out the full list to see if your city is on it.
Aug 29, 2012Read Article >
As promised, Sprint has expanded its recently launched LTE service before Labor Day arrived in the United States. Extending beyond the original 15 cities, subscribers in Baltimore, Maryland; Gainesville, Georgia; Manhattan and Junction City, Kansas; and Sedalia, Missouri now have access the company's high speed wireless data. The carrier will be turning on LTE in Sherman-Dennison, Texas in the coming weeks as well. Additionally, Sprint has implemented new 3G equipment to improve signal quality in Baltimore, Boston, and Washington DC. The carrier previously announced plans to aggressively roll out LTE coverage in 2013 while releasing "15-plus" new devices in 2012 that utilize the technology.
Aug 7, 2012Read Article >
Numerous reports made their way onto the web today stating that Sprint's LTE was available in the San Francisco Bay Area: specifically in Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, and Palo Alto. Android Police was the first to report the news, and, as expected, it turns out that whatever service customers received today was merely part of system testing. Sprint has let us know that it hasn't permanently turned on service and made a point of saying that it has yet to announce when the high-speed data network will officially be available in the Bay Area. Just like AT&T and Verizon, Sprint has long turned on sites a bit early to conduct some testing — most recently in Atlanta, Texas, and Kansas — and today's service in San Francisco is no different. It's not clear if Sprint intends to keep the sites it tested today on-line until the service officially launches, but we would expect that won't be the case.
Aug 7, 2012
Sprint is feeling pretty positive about itself these days. Most obviously, it dodged a bullet when AT&T failed to acquire T-Mobile, but since then Sprint's last quarterly results were better than usual by Sprint's usual standards — though perhaps that's damning the company with faint praise. Nevertheless, Sprint was eager to tout them to a small group of reporters at its headquarters today, noting that its ARPU, OIBDA, FD-LTE, and churn were all headed in the right direction.Read Article >
"ARPU, OIBDA, FD-LTE and churn" are all terms that the average human will justifiably ignore, though they are critically important to understanding whether Sprint will still be a viable carrier in a few years. Fortunately for those of us not deeply embedded in the minutiae of the mobile industry, CEO Dan Hesse has a much simpler idea that customers can keep in mind: Sprint wants to be the "good guys." Another way to put it: he's betting that nice guys don't always finish last.
Jul 26, 2012
Sprint has posted its Q2 2012 financial results, revealing an operating loss of $629 million resulting in a net loss of $1.38 billion, the latter figure thanks to increasing costs of its network improvements and LTE rollout. Postpaid subscriptions rose by 442,000 in the period, but the company lost 688,000 subscribers from its Nextel iDEN platform — just 60 percent of customers moved from Nextel to Sprint's network, giving the company a net subscriber loss of 246,000. It wasn't all doom and gloom, however: with prepaid, wholesale, and affiliate subscribers added, the company added a total of 283,000 subscriptions. Net operating revenues were $8.843 billion, up from $8.311 billion last quarter, and postpaid ARPU (average revenue per user) reached $63.38, up by $4.31 from last quarters' results.Read Article >
iPhone sales were pegged at "nearly 1.5 million," a slight decrease from last quarter's 1.5 million. The flat sales are in contrast to AT&T and Verizon's results, which revealed a large drop in iPhone sales, blamed on the smartphone approaching the assumed end of its lifespan. Nonetheless, Sprint still sits in third place in terms of iPhone activations and sales: AT&T and Verizon recorded 3.7 and 2.7 million, respectively. For a company that bet its future on the iPhone, the results aren't a disaster, but they could be much better.
Jul 16, 2012
While Sprint may have turned on its LTE service a little early over the weekend, the carrier has officially announced the 15 total cities where users can get on its new network. While we already knew about the main metropolitan areas of Kansas City, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, Sprint also turned on service in Waco, Texas, bringing the total list of cities with LTE coverage up to 15. This comes thanks to an "accelerated build schedule" that beefs up Sprint's coverage in Texas, where it already had coverage set for the biggest of the state's cities. Additionally, Sprint gave more details on smaller markets surrounding its major launch markets where customers will be able to get service, including five additional cities in Georgia, three in Texas (not including the Waco launch), and one in Missouri. For those not living in these areas, there's no word yet on when Sprint might continue its LTE rollout — the company says that it'll announce more LTE markets in the second half of the year.Read Article >
The full list of cities where Sprint LTE service is active is below.
Jul 14, 2012
Sprint's first LTE cities — Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Atlanta, and Kansas City — are set to officially go online sometime on Sunday, July 15th, but we've been hearing reports that some lucky users are already connected to the carrier's 4G network. We've spoken with local Sprint stores in all five metropolitan areas, and the general word across the board is that LTE service is already available intermittently in certain spots. Speeds so far appear to be about on par with what we've heard before — about 10Mbps down and 2Mbps up. That's much faster that Sprint's WiMAX network and far and away better than its aging EV-DO 3G service, but it comes up short (especially on the uplink side) against Verizon's and AT&T's LTE.Read Article >