Sprint's High-Stakes Gamble For Virgin Mobile's Rebirth

It doesn't take a genius analyst to see that Sprint is not exactly topping the prepaid charts. On top of sinking to the number four position in the nation overall, they've seen their prepaid business, once thriving, fall from grace in short order. For example, having gained 546,000 prepaid users in the first quarter of 2015, the first quarter of 2016 saw them losing 264,000 prepaid subscribers, whose value is slowly rising in an increasingly contested market. Meanwhile, competitors Cricket and MetroPCS have been snapping up subscribers left and right. With Boost Mobile largely performing at a strictly average level, Sprint is looking to a complete floor-up revamp of their prepaid MVNO Virgin Mobile (which they have already started in some ways), complete with a consumer-facing relaunch to slingshot themselves back into relevance in the prepaid market.

As part and parcel of this rebirth, Sprint is making a few staff changes, some of which are at fairly high levels. For starters, prepaid president Dow Draper will personally helm the new Virgin Mobile, while his old spot will be taken by neophyte Jim Hyde. Although new to Sprint, Hyde's track record includes time as the CEO of various carriers, including T-Mobile's UK arm, making him a formidable candidate. Hailed as "an inspirational leader with an extraordinary vision" by Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, Dow will be charged with reinventing Virgin Mobile and taking care of consumer-facing strategy, promotions, advertising oversight and the like. Hyde, meanwhile, will be dreaming up market strategies across all of Sprint's prepaid offerings and, answering only to Claure, who will have the final approve or veto power on any major decisions regarding prepaid.

In Dow's new position, his input in this job may actually have a bit more sway in the grand scheme of things than his old job, given the current financial climate for Sprint and their position in the prepaid market. The stakes for his new office are fairly high, with Dow on the front lines of Virgin Mobile's reinvention. While Hyde's job will largely be maintenance of status quo and attempts at market adaptation and trend spotting, Dow will be tasked with anything and everything to do with Sprint's gamble on a new Virgin Mobile. He is expected to turn the MVNO into "a disruptive force" in the overall wireless market. A win here could potentially put Sprint back where they want to be in regards to prepaid, while a loss here could continue the current negative trend Sprint has been experiencing in the prepaid market. What comes of either outcome is, of course, up to Sprint's strategists to decide.

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Daniel Fuller

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]
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