It’s no secret that Sprint was not in a good place when Masayoshi Son’s Softbank bought a majority share in the company in 2013. The deal closed in late 2013, and most of 2014 they spent trying to urge the FCC to approve a bid to buy T-Mobile. See, Son thought that consolidating the two smaller carriers would make for a strong third player to go up against Verizon and AT&T. Son was likely right, but the FCC was bent on keeping four national carriers. So after Sprint pulled out of talks to buy T-Mobile USA, they immediately replaced Dan Hesse who was the current Sprint CEO, and replaced him with Marcelo Claure. Marcelo has now been in charge of the company for about a year, and you can see things are changing and changing quickly.
Claure famously said in an interview earlier this year, that his company will outperform his competitors in the top 100 markets in the next few years. We’ve also recently seen speed tests from him on Twitter, showing speeds of over 100Mbps down stream. Pretty impressive for Sprint. Marcelo Claure was the founder and CEO of Brightstar, which was bought by SoftBank, and that’s basically what gave him a foot in the door for the Sprint position.
Recently, Kansas City Star did an in-depth profile on the Sprint executive. Claure said in this profile that “What I know is I got hired to do a job, and I want that job to be completed in three to five years”. So he’s looking to get Sprint turned around in 3-5 years. And he’s saying this after being on the job for a year. So as we expected, the turnaround isn’t going to be instant, but a bit of a long-term turnaround.
There are a few keys here, to Sprint’s turnaround under Claure. One is improving the network. Probably the most important key. Another is cutting costs, which Claure has been doing since day one. And has helped to trim the fat when they aren’t having a great quarter. They also need to finance their turnaround. Softbank and Sprint are doing this through leasing agreements for hardware for the network as well as devices. Finally, Claure needs to motivate his team. Which we’ve been seeing plenty of that over recent weeks.
What this all means is that we can look forward to more candid exchanges between Marcelo Claure and John Legere. That always makes for a fun day at work for us.