There's essentially no chance for Sprint to return to revenue growth in 2018, Walter Piecyk of BTIG wrote Wednesday as part of an explanation why the analytics company is reducing its expectations for Sprint's business results in the final quarter of 2017. Sprint Chief Financial Officer Tarek Robbiati recently predicted the mobile service provider will finally see its turnover reinvigorated after years of underwhelming performance but BTIG has a much more pessimistic view of its prospects, having reduced its estimate of the company's postpaid net customer additions in Q4 to 220,000, down from the initial 330,000 figure.
Mr. Piecyk reflected on the difference between BTIG and Sprint's expectations by largely attributing it to their projections in regards to phone gross adds, implying Sprint's optimism on this front is mostly unfounded. The firm estimates Sprint would have to more than triple its 4.7 percent postpaid phone gross adds from 2017 in order to justify its predictions, a feat it deems highly unlikely. Sprint's increasing networking investments will also affect its overall 2018 performance after years of minimal financial commitments in the segment which were largely backed by its vast spectrum portfolio, the analyst suggested.
By most accounts, Sprint has a hard road ahead of it, with even its parent SoftBank being quick to admit the unenviable position of the wireless carrier. While the company showed some signs of recovering its business under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Claure who's been heading its operations since the summer of 2014, the general consensus among analysts is that the firm's assets are still overleveraged in light of its recent performance. For the better part of the last year, Sprint saw a tie-up with T-Mobile as a potential solution to the majority of its problems, though the consolidation talks between the two fell apart two months back after both SoftBank and Deutsche Telekom ultimately proved to be unwilling to cede control of the theoretical combined entity they would create. The long-term outlook for Sprint still isn't negative as SoftBank would otherwise have little issues with selling the company to DT in late 2017. Mr. Piecyk himself believes Sprint is in the right to ramp up its networking investments and do a better job of leveraging its spectrum, though he notes the Overland Park, Kansas-based company should have done so "years" ago as taking maximum advantage of its 2.5GHz spectrum was always a crucial component of its long-term plans for prosperity.