Some Sprint customers are set to see price increases over the coming months and that's having a decidedly negative impact on some aspects of the company's outlook from industry analysts. Before anybody who currently uses the nation's fourth-largest mobile provider becomes too alarmed, the increase applies specifically to customers who signed on during the company's two major promotional offers from last year. Namely, the discounts in question are the "unlimited freedom" offer and its half off plan promotion. As Sprint spokeswoman Kathleen Dunleavy has noted, exactly when the price goes to the normal rate is something that will vary from customer to customer based on when they signed up. Moreover, she says that customers were made aware on signup and during their contract when their term would end. However, Wall Street, as well as analysts from both Wave7 Research and Jefferies, expect that return to normal to have a significant impact on Sprint's numbers.
For starters, Wave7 Research previously predicted Sprint to add around 300,000 subscribers through its promotions but expects a substantial portion of those accounts to be canceled at the end of this month. That's based on Sprint's initial statement that prices would return to normal on January 31. Aside from that prediction, and probably following the same reasoning, Jefferies recently adjusted the company's expected postpaid churn rate – the rate at which subscribers leave a company – by nearly a full percent from 1.78-percent to 1.85-percent. That may seem like a slight increase but the firm also lowered the number of handsets it expects Sprint to be able to add – from around 365,000 to 200,000. Wall Street seems to be in agreement on the figures, with Wells Fargo expecting an increase of around 0.15-percent over the previous quarter. That marks the third increase to churn by a similar percent over the course of the past two quarters. According to Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche, the estimates for postpay upgrade rate have also been adjusted by around 2-percent.
Although it was also recently rated as having an exceptionally low satisfaction rating and has continued on a downward trend in some areas, this isn't all necessarily bad news for Sprint. The carrier has been making some strides in the mobile service market. That's true in terms of coverage and the quality of its coverage, as well as in its efforts to advance new LTE and 5G technology. While it's nearly certain the company isn't going to overcome its competition anytime soon, as is always the case with predictions, that and other factors could play into how the final tally of Sprint's figures.