This week was a big week for Sprint, and probably in a good way. While a lot of people weren’t too happy that Sprint decided not to actively work on buying T-Mobile USA due to the FCC, that’s not all we got out of Sprint this week. Sprint also announced a brand new CEO. And that was Marcelo Claure, who is the CEO of Brightstar right now, which is owned by Softbank. So effectively, Softbank is putting their own man in charge of Sprint. We also saw Sprint’s stock plummet pretty hard when the rumor hit that they were no longer in talks to buy T-Mobile. So now that Sprint is replacing their CEO, come Monday August 11th, what’s next for the third largest carrier?
For one thing, they need to really be looking at that spectrum auction coming up next year. The FCC is going to be auctioning off the 600MHz spectrum next year, and that’s something that both Sprint and T-Mobile need desperately. Although, Sprint does finally have some sub-1GHz spectrum they can start deploying, it’s always better to have more. When they bought Nextel about 8 years ago, they got plenty of spectrum, including the 800MHz that they are rolling into Spark. But they were unable to use it until now. Which has really cost them a lot. And if they can pick up some 600MHz spectrum, they will definitely benefit. As long as they can roll it out quickly. As Sprint does already have the most spectrum, most of it is 2GHz or higher though, which as you know, sucks for building penetration.
Another thing Sprint needs to do is price wars. I know Verizon said they wouldn’t engage in a price war because it doesn’t help. But it’s something Sprint needs to do. Sprint has been losing customers each quarter for as long as I can remember. But if they get into a price war with T-Mobile, I think their fortunes would turn around real quick. Sure the ARPU would go down a bit, but right now they need customers. If you look at T-Mobile’s ARPU from Q1 and Q2, you’ll see Q2 went up, because they had more customers to start that quarter.
Sprint may also need to rebranded. When you say “what about Sprint?” to a lot of people, their first reaction or thought is “they suck” or even “they’re still around?” Sprint has a pretty bad reputation in a lot of areas for their network, which is understandably, as it’s been pretty mediocre for quite some time in a lot of areas. T-Mobile has the same issue, which is why Legere introduced Test Drive, so users can test drive their network for a week and see how it works for them. Those rumors we heard a few weeks ago, about Sprint being rebranded to Softbank USA, will probably still happen, even without T-Mobile in the picture. I also think they should combine Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile together to create one big prepaid carrier.
Good things ahead for Sprint, at least I hope so. Sprint has always been good to us, they just need to get their network straightened out. And hopefully these changes are the beginning of a comeback for Sprint. I really hope they do become a stronger player for Verizon and AT&T. I hope the same for T-Mobile as well. Because 4 strong carriers are better than 2 strong and 2 weak players, which is what we have right now.