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Thread: Sprint loses 2 million customers and 1.6 Billion Dollars.

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    Sprint loses 2 million customers and 1.6 Billion Dollars.

    Well, it's only supposed to get better from here.
    That's the attitude Sprint is likely taking after posting a net loss of $1.6 billion and net subscriber losses of 2 million. While the numbers look bad, there remains reason to be optimistic.
    The company reported on late Monday a loss of $1.6 billion, or 53 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $1.37 billion, or 46 cents a share. Results were affected by the Nextel shutdown, which included $430 million in the write-off of Nextel assets, as well as non-cash charges of $623 million. On a per-share basis, the Nextel shutdown cost Sprint 36 cents.

    Sprint is hoping SoftBank gives it the spark it needs to press forward with its recovery. In addition to relieving itself of the burden of Nextel, it managed to scoop up the wireless spectrum from 4G provider Clearwire, which will help augment and bolster Sprint's LTE network down the line.
    Its customers largely came from the Nextel side, where it lost 1.3 million customers. But Sprint's own prepaid and wholesale businesses also suffered losses. Only Sprint's core service remained in the red, adding a net 194,000 customers in the period.
    Sprint sold 5 million smartphones and 1.4 million iPhones. The company said 41 percent of iPhones were sold to customers new to the service.
    As a result of the Nextel defections, the company's churn, or turnover rate, rose on both the contract and prepaid side.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-575...bers-drop-off/

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    However CDMA Postpaid added 194K subs in 2Q. Which was a shock to me considering all the Sprint Hate you see everywhere and the state of the network right now.

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    Shame Sprint just did not spin Nextel back off as a subsidy and operate it under a sliver of Spectrum it could of kept its users happy, even resold its assets and customer base to SouthernLINC Wireless.

    Or since NII still has operations in 5 countries now they could of just sold the current Nextel subscribers to NII.

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    None of that was really practical as Sprint wanted all of the 800MHz SMR spectrum for CDMA and LTE use.
    Thrill me...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan702 View Post
    None of that was really practical as Sprint wanted all of the 800MHz SMR spectrum for CDMA and LTE use.
    The real shocker is how back in the good ole days a HF thread on Sprint quarterly results would have pages and pages of replies by now. Today is mostly crickets (a handful of replies).. or a not-exactly-on-topic reply like mine. Miss the old school troublemakers: Toulumne, coreythegent, etc...

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    I'm thinking this is the end of the 'bad' reports with Nextel dragging down Sprint's numbers, and I think with Softbank will finally start to turn things around... I'm sure Matayoshi Son is plotting as we speak...

    I'm thinking the lack of response is that everyone realizes this....

    That said, if it stats bad for another 2 or 3 quarters, the 'Softbank doesn't know what their doing' threads will start up...

    But I really do think this is the worst we should see... Everyone was really expecting a horrible quarter when IDEN ended, and that's what we're seeing.

    With Sprint losing 1 million IDEN lines, I'm wondering how many of these lines were actually used... I'd be interested in seeing the porting stats--how many of these lines went to other providers (Sprint got over 300k back) vs. How many just terminated when the network shut down--as in the lines weren't used, were just 'extra' corporate lines or glovebox phones or were otherwise just forgotten about.

    I also wonder if the capture rate would have been better had Sprint mailed out similar CDMA PTT phones to these lines that hadn't responded by a few months before shutdown with a note 'Since our network is changing, we've sent you a new device to continue your service. To activate it, call this number. If you'd like to change providers, mail it back within 30 days and port your number out by 6/30/13 otherwise a change of XXX will appear on your final invoice.'

    IIRC this is what ATT did with TDMA when they shut it down... I don't think Sprint did. When faced with a ready to go new phone at their door (that has to be mailed back if you don't use it) or having to shop for a new provider, I bet the recapture rate would have been MUCH higher.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NGeorge View Post
    I'm thinking this is the end of the 'bad' reports with Nextel dragging down Sprint's numbers, and I think with Softbank will finally start to turn things around... I'm sure Matayoshi Son is plotting as we speak...

    I'm thinking the lack of response is that everyone realizes this....

    That said, if it stats bad for another 2 or 3 quarters, the 'Softbank doesn't know what their doing' threads will start up...

    But I really do think this is the worst we should see... Everyone was really expecting a horrible quarter when IDEN ended, and that's what we're seeing.

    With Sprint losing 1 million IDEN lines, I'm wondering how many of these lines were actually used... I'd be interested in seeing the porting stats--how many of these lines went to other providers (Sprint got over 300k back) vs. How many just terminated when the network shut down--as in the lines weren't used, were just 'extra' corporate lines or glovebox phones or were otherwise just forgotten about.
    Everyone saw this coming, that's why S stock actually rose 7% at close yesterday. Sprint actually added postpaid subs, highest ever revenue, etc. The article on 'FW' regarding the end of iDEN subs being lost on Sprint and gained on it's competitors is interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deep-Six View Post
    Shame Sprint just did not spin Nextel back off as a subsidy and operate it under a sliver of Spectrum it could of kept its users happy, even resold its assets and customer base to SouthernLINC Wireless.

    Or since NII still has operations in 5 countries now they could of just sold the current Nextel subscribers to NII.
    It's not a shame (for two big reasons). First, Sprint wants/needs that spectrum. Pre-Clearwire, Sprint had 54MHz of spectrum. By contrast, TMUS hits 76MHz, AT&T (pre-Leap) hits 97MHz, and Verizon hits 109MHz. Sprint couldn't get rid of spectrum and especially couldn't get rid of sub-1GHz spectrum. That sub-1GHz spectrum will make it easier for them to do their network rollout and will provide better coverage. Second, iDEN just doesn't cut it today. If Nextel had continued on its own, it would have churned out customers. The devices get poor battery life, data is inferior to EDGE and 1xRTT, and it's single-sourced on equipment (which was less of a problem when Motorola was at the top of its game, but would have taken a turn for the worse as Moto did). Today, the vast majority of postpay users are smartphone users. iDEN just doesn't make that happen. Similarly, an iDEN network with around 15MHz of spectrum could never become popular in a competitive way since iDEN just doesn't have the capacity. It was fine when TDMA had its day.

    To be blunt, if Sprint had spun-off Nextel, it would have prevented Sprint from competing and left a Nextel that would have rotted away as the majority of its subscribers moved to smartphones on other carriers while it didn't have the spectrum to try and launch new data services.

    With 14MHz, Sprint can do 5x5 LTE with 2.5MHz for CDMA voice on that SMR spectrum. That's way more valuable to Sprint than the pittance it might have gotten spinning off Nextel and it's also better for a society that mostly cares about smartphones and not a niche network of the 90s.

    CDMA Postpaid added 194K subs in 2Q.
    Sprint recaptured 364k iDEN postpay subscribers as CDMA customers and gained a net of 194k. Without those iDEN customers upgrading, Sprint would have lost CDMA subscribers. It's possible that those subscribers would have come from other carriers and been genuine net adds. It's also possible that they're more in line with subscribers at other carriers who merely upgraded phones. With iDEN gone, the next quarter will show whether Sprint can get genuine CDMA postpay adds.

    That said, if it stats bad for another 2 or 3 quarters, the 'Softbank doesn't know what their doing' threads will start up...
    It probably won't be roses for the next few quarters and not because SoftBank doesn't know what it's doing. Sprint is probably close to its lowest point. iDEN is gone and with it a lot of customers. But Sprint now has Clearwire and the SMR spectrum to roll out their network on. The problem is that it takes more than two months to do a network rollout. That's simply realistic. Even if you make all the correct decisions, it simply won't happen overnight. I think people have unrealistic expectations. Sprint has said that they expect to have 5,000 sites with the Clearwire spectrum online by the end of the year. That's about a third of Clearwire's WiMAX network. Similarly, none of Sprint's current phone lineup supports that spectrum. Sprint can't change that overnight and the fact that it takes time to change things could cause Sprint to lag in the coming quarters.

    Where do we expect Sprint to be at the end of 2013? 200M LTE POPs covered with 5x5 LTE; maybe 40-45M POPs covered with TD-LTE; no huge expansion of voice coverage. Verizon is already above 300M POPs with 10x10, AT&T is going to hit 270M, and T-Mobile is going to match 200M, but with more spectrum. So, for the rest of 2013, Sprint is going to lag behind in terms of product. That doesn't mean that Sprint is making the wrong moves. That means that it takes at least a year to see results. Frankly, some of Sprint's "results" that will be coming this year stem from their greatly increased capex. Sprint has been spending on a quarterly basis what it had spent over entire years previously - and that happened before the close of the SoftBank deal. The $3.7B Sprint spent in the first half will put Sprint in a much better place, but it isn't really attributable to SoftBank. Similarly, the fact that Sprint is going to be serving at most around 15% of its network with TD-LTE by the end of the year can't be held against SoftBank. It takes time to do things.

    Don't mistake what I'm saying - 200M covered with LTE is a great step on the way to 280M covered and TD-LTE available to a lot of people. This is just to point out that it will take time to realize these ambitions. Sprint now has lots of 2.5GHz spectrum and it's exciting to think of how Sprint can leverage that over the years. Over the next two months (which would close our 3Q213), it's a complete non-factor. Over the next 5 months (to close out 2013), it will be a minor factor at most (Sprint has already said 5,000 2.5GHz LTE sites and phones first appearing in the 4th quarter to support it - Sprint is saying that it will be a minor factor this year).

    As such, it's a definite possibility that Sprint will see a slight exodus over the next quarter. It's LTE network is the least deployed at this point and it's the slowest since Sprint has only 10MHz to give LTE, rather than the 20MHz that competitors are usually allocating. Phones today aren't compatible with the spectrum that will give Sprint more speed and capacity in the future - the iPhone and Galaxy S 4 aren't even compatible with Sprint's SMR spectrum for LTE. Yes, Sprint is going to be working hard and might still have advantages. That doesn't negate a certain frustration that many users might have with Sprint. For the first month of 3Q2013, Sprint didn't have LTE launched in Philly, Portland, Oakland, or the Bronx/Brooklyn. Sprint still has yet to launch Manhattan, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, San Jose, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Salt Lake City, etc. I know that some are say that Sensorly or whomever shows blips of LTE in loads of places. That doesn't mean that there's a reliable network for people to use and it also means that people looking at Sprint see that its LTE isn't in those areas. When someone in Seattle is making a purchase decision, they see that T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon all have LTE coverage to them and Sprint doesn't. So, they pick one of the carriers offering them their LTE and whether Sprint is excellent or not, that's a lost potential customer.

    The point is just that this isn't likely to be the last negative quarter*. No matter how perfect Sprint is from here on out, network rollouts take time. AT&T and Verizon have a big head start and even T-Mobile is in a stronger position because it isn't trying to re-do its voice network (requiring more work), it has 20MHz to use for LTE, it already has fiber to the cell sites it needs to upgrade, it has a HSPA+ network to fall back on, and its devices sold today support the majority of its spectrum. Thinking dispassionately about it, I think even Sprint fans would want to wait on upgrading their smartphone until Sprint starts rolling out ones that support 2.5GHz LTE (or even SMR LTE). Right now, a lot of the top markets don't have LTE launched. Even if you argue that LTE actually exists there, when an individual member of the public looks at services, Sprint doesn't have LTE.

    So, I don't think we should be shocked if there are still some negative quarters to come - and more negative quarters isn't a reflection of current decisions, but previous decisions. Sprint can't go back in time and purchase Clearwire 4 years ago. Sprint can't go back in time and make its capex from 2009-2011 average $6B per year rather than the $2.1B per year that it was.

    The key is that Sprint is changing its behavior. Results are likely to lag such a change, but Sprint is spending on capex after many years of neglect, Sprint bought Clearwire which gives them the spectrum needed to compete, Sprint is pushing LTE across all of its spectrum which should allow for a decent combination of coverage and capacity, and iDEN is gone. But results are likely to lag this change in behavior because it takes time to affect the change after you've decided on what/how to change.

    I think people get impatient and like to draw conclusions that aren't supported by evidence. The impact of Sprint's decisions and actions today won't be felt until 2014 at the earliest. If Sprint has a good quarter in 3Q2013, it won't be because 2.5GHz TD-LTE offered consumers a compelling product and SoftBank has made the right decisions. Similarly, a bad quarter can't be put on those shoulders. I mean, if someone posts next quarter "Sprint adds 400k postpay subs: see how great 2.5GHz LTE and SoftBank are!!!" it would be a conclusion unsupported by evidence. Similarly, anyone posting "Sprint loses 400k postpay subs: see how dumb Sprint still is!!!" next quarter would be making a similar, eronious conclusion. As long as Sprint keeps to its capex targets, I think people won't attack the company too much. Not everything is under a company's control (people act on whims, circumstances get in the way, etc.). However, Sprint can show that it is serious about competing by putting the resources into upgrading its network. It's also very unlikely that such a network spend won't exceed the performance of the lower spend of Sprint's past. So, if Sprint loses customers next quarter, but launches most of the top 100 markets in the quarter, that's a negative quarter, but I think there's a logical way of seeing that Sprint is moving forward and the results are just lagging - in a way that contrasts vividly with Sprint's infighting with Clearwire, missed network rollout targets, the LightSquared mess, etc.

    *By negative quarter, I mean both quarters where Sprint loses customers and money and quarters where its results are generally quite worse than the other three. For example, if we see a quarter where postpay adds are 900k, 500k, and 400k and Sprint adds 9k, that's not really a good quarter. It's not a really bad quarter, but I think it would indicate that Sprint is struggling in the marketplace as consumers opt for competitors and Sprint should be a competitive carrier (at least able to compete with T-Mobile), not a carrier that is just treading water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z0EY View Post
    I think people get impatient and like to draw conclusions that aren't supported by evidence. The impact of Sprint's decisions and actions today won't be felt until 2014 at the earliest.
    I agree with your post, and I expect Sprint to bleed for at least another year (due to their poor planning / network decisions).

    However, I don't think people "are drawing conclusions that aren't supported by evidence". In fact, I usually see the opposite. People are impatient, and draw conclusions based solely on their evidence.

    In my market, if you walk into a Sprint store, you'll see worse data performance than any other carrier. Sprint LTE here is slower and has worse coverage than MetroPCS LTE. Sprint LTE here is slower than T-Mobile's 3G (we don't have LTE, but T-Mobile's single-channel 10mhz HSPA+ 21 beats Sprint LTE in coverage and speeds within the city limits).

    If your out in the country, the decision is easier (since Sprint is cheaper). But in the city, it's a hard sell, since MetroPCS's network and T-Mobile's network are both faster, better, and cheaper in the urban areas.

    People are seeing that evidence and making a decision.

    I don't blame them. It's really hard to sell a service based on future promises, and lots of people were burned by Sprint EVDO and Sprint WiMax that was promised (by in-store salespeople) for years but never ever arrived, so they just assume Sprint is lying again. (Even though this time, they actually slowly but surely upgrading towers).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z0EY View Post
    It's not a shame (for two big reasons). First, Sprint wants/needs that spectrum. Pre-Clearwire, Sprint had 54MHz of spectrum. By contrast, TMUS hits 76MHz, AT&T (pre-Leap) hits 97MHz, and Verizon hits 109MHz. Sprint couldn't get rid of spectrum and especially couldn't get rid of sub-1GHz spectrum. That sub-1GHz spectrum will make it easier for them to do their network rollout and will provide better coverage. Second, iDEN just doesn't cut it today. If Nextel had continued on its own, it would have churned out customers. The devices get poor battery life, data is inferior to EDGE and 1xRTT, and it's single-sourced on equipment (which was less of a problem when Motorola was at the top of its game, but would have taken a turn for the worse as Moto did). Today, the vast majority of postpay users are smartphone users. iDEN just doesn't make that happen. Similarly, an iDEN network with around 15MHz of spectrum could never become popular in a competitive way since iDEN just doesn't have the capacity. It was fine when TDMA had its day.

    To be blunt, if Sprint had spun-off Nextel, it would have prevented Sprint from competing and left a Nextel that would have rotted away as the majority of its subscribers moved to smartphones on other carriers while it didn't have the spectrum to try and launch new data services.

    With 14MHz, Sprint can do 5x5 LTE with 2.5MHz for CDMA voice on that SMR spectrum. That's way more valuable to Sprint than the pittance it might have gotten spinning off Nextel and it's also better for a society that mostly cares about smartphones and not a niche network of the 90s.



    Sprint recaptured 364k iDEN postpay subscribers as CDMA customers and gained a net of 194k. Without those iDEN customers upgrading, Sprint would have lost CDMA subscribers. It's possible that those subscribers would have come from other carriers and been genuine net adds. It's also possible that they're more in line with subscribers at other carriers who merely upgraded phones. With iDEN gone, the next quarter will show whether Sprint can get genuine CDMA postpay adds.



    It probably won't be roses for the next few quarters and not because SoftBank doesn't know what it's doing. Sprint is probably close to its lowest point. iDEN is gone and with it a lot of customers. But Sprint now has Clearwire and the SMR spectrum to roll out their network on. The problem is that it takes more than two months to do a network rollout. That's simply realistic. Even if you make all the correct decisions, it simply won't happen overnight. I think people have unrealistic expectations. Sprint has said that they expect to have 5,000 sites with the Clearwire spectrum online by the end of the year. That's about a third of Clearwire's WiMAX network. Similarly, none of Sprint's current phone lineup supports that spectrum. Sprint can't change that overnight and the fact that it takes time to change things could cause Sprint to lag in the coming quarters.

    Where do we expect Sprint to be at the end of 2013? 200M LTE POPs covered with 5x5 LTE; maybe 40-45M POPs covered with TD-LTE; no huge expansion of voice coverage. Verizon is already above 300M POPs with 10x10, AT&T is going to hit 270M, and T-Mobile is going to match 200M, but with more spectrum. So, for the rest of 2013, Sprint is going to lag behind in terms of product. That doesn't mean that Sprint is making the wrong moves. That means that it takes at least a year to see results. Frankly, some of Sprint's "results" that will be coming this year stem from their greatly increased capex. Sprint has been spending on a quarterly basis what it had spent over entire years previously - and that happened before the close of the SoftBank deal. The $3.7B Sprint spent in the first half will put Sprint in a much better place, but it isn't really attributable to SoftBank. Similarly, the fact that Sprint is going to be serving at most around 15% of its network with TD-LTE by the end of the year can't be held against SoftBank. It takes time to do things.

    Don't mistake what I'm saying - 200M covered with LTE is a great step on the way to 280M covered and TD-LTE available to a lot of people. This is just to point out that it will take time to realize these ambitions. Sprint now has lots of 2.5GHz spectrum and it's exciting to think of how Sprint can leverage that over the years. Over the next two months (which would close our 3Q213), it's a complete non-factor. Over the next 5 months (to close out 2013), it will be a minor factor at most (Sprint has already said 5,000 2.5GHz LTE sites and phones first appearing in the 4th quarter to support it - Sprint is saying that it will be a minor factor this year).

    As such, it's a definite possibility that Sprint will see a slight exodus over the next quarter. It's LTE network is the least deployed at this point and it's the slowest since Sprint has only 10MHz to give LTE, rather than the 20MHz that competitors are usually allocating. Phones today aren't compatible with the spectrum that will give Sprint more speed and capacity in the future - the iPhone and Galaxy S 4 aren't even compatible with Sprint's SMR spectrum for LTE. Yes, Sprint is going to be working hard and might still have advantages. That doesn't negate a certain frustration that many users might have with Sprint. For the first month of 3Q2013, Sprint didn't have LTE launched in Philly, Portland, Oakland, or the Bronx/Brooklyn. Sprint still has yet to launch Manhattan, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, San Jose, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Salt Lake City, etc. I know that some are say that Sensorly or whomever shows blips of LTE in loads of places. That doesn't mean that there's a reliable network for people to use and it also means that people looking at Sprint see that its LTE isn't in those areas. When someone in Seattle is making a purchase decision, they see that T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon all have LTE coverage to them and Sprint doesn't. So, they pick one of the carriers offering them their LTE and whether Sprint is excellent or not, that's a lost potential customer.

    The point is just that this isn't likely to be the last negative quarter*. No matter how perfect Sprint is from here on out, network rollouts take time. AT&T and Verizon have a big head start and even T-Mobile is in a stronger position because it isn't trying to re-do its voice network (requiring more work), it has 20MHz to use for LTE, it already has fiber to the cell sites it needs to upgrade, it has a HSPA+ network to fall back on, and its devices sold today support the majority of its spectrum. Thinking dispassionately about it, I think even Sprint fans would want to wait on upgrading their smartphone until Sprint starts rolling out ones that support 2.5GHz LTE (or even SMR LTE). Right now, a lot of the top markets don't have LTE launched. Even if you argue that LTE actually exists there, when an individual member of the public looks at services, Sprint doesn't have LTE.

    So, I don't think we should be shocked if there are still some negative quarters to come - and more negative quarters isn't a reflection of current decisions, but previous decisions. Sprint can't go back in time and purchase Clearwire 4 years ago. Sprint can't go back in time and make its capex from 2009-2011 average $6B per year rather than the $2.1B per year that it was.

    The key is that Sprint is changing its behavior. Results are likely to lag such a change, but Sprint is spending on capex after many years of neglect, Sprint bought Clearwire which gives them the spectrum needed to compete, Sprint is pushing LTE across all of its spectrum which should allow for a decent combination of coverage and capacity, and iDEN is gone. But results are likely to lag this change in behavior because it takes time to affect the change after you've decided on what/how to change.

    I think people get impatient and like to draw conclusions that aren't supported by evidence. The impact of Sprint's decisions and actions today won't be felt until 2014 at the earliest. If Sprint has a good quarter in 3Q2013, it won't be because 2.5GHz TD-LTE offered consumers a compelling product and SoftBank has made the right decisions. Similarly, a bad quarter can't be put on those shoulders. I mean, if someone posts next quarter "Sprint adds 400k postpay subs: see how great 2.5GHz LTE and SoftBank are!!!" it would be a conclusion unsupported by evidence. Similarly, anyone posting "Sprint loses 400k postpay subs: see how dumb Sprint still is!!!" next quarter would be making a similar, eronious conclusion. As long as Sprint keeps to its capex targets, I think people won't attack the company too much. Not everything is under a company's control (people act on whims, circumstances get in the way, etc.). However, Sprint can show that it is serious about competing by putting the resources into upgrading its network. It's also very unlikely that such a network spend won't exceed the performance of the lower spend of Sprint's past. So, if Sprint loses customers next quarter, but launches most of the top 100 markets in the quarter, that's a negative quarter, but I think there's a logical way of seeing that Sprint is moving forward and the results are just lagging - in a way that contrasts vividly with Sprint's infighting with Clearwire, missed network rollout targets, the LightSquared mess, etc.

    *By negative quarter, I mean both quarters where Sprint loses customers and money and quarters where its results are generally quite worse than the other three. For example, if we see a quarter where postpay adds are 900k, 500k, and 400k and Sprint adds 9k, that's not really a good quarter. It's not a really bad quarter, but I think it would indicate that Sprint is struggling in the marketplace as consumers opt for competitors and Sprint should be a competitive carrier (at least able to compete with T-Mobile), not a carrier that is just treading water.
    Mdasen - why'd you change your screen name?

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    Casting off Nextel, getting Clearwire and funding from SoftBank is a coup d'état for Sprint.

    The constant bleeding from the Nextel nightmare is over. Sprints costs for dealing with Clear will drop dramatically.

    They said a day or so ago that the Clear TDD-LTE will be extended to EVERY site they have not just metro areas.

    http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/...ide/2013-07-30

    The tri band phones that can take advantage of the total spectrum are coming. The tri band radios are what is missing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z0EY View Post
    ...
    If Nextel had continued on its own, it would have churned out customers. The devices get poor battery life, data is inferior to EDGE and 1xRTT, and it's single-sourced on equipment (which was less of a problem when Motorola was at the top of its game, but would have taken a turn for the worse as Moto did). Today, the vast majority of postpay users are smartphone users. iDEN just doesn't make that happen. Similarly, an iDEN network with around 15MHz of spectrum could never become popular in a competitive way since iDEN just doesn't have the capacity. It was fine when TDMA had its day.

    To be blunt, if Sprint had spun-off Nextel, it would have prevented Sprint from competing and left a Nextel that would have rotted away as the majority of its subscribers moved to smartphones on other carriers while it didn't have the spectrum to try and launch new data services.
    ...
    I do agree with the majority of your lengthy post. However, since the statements excerpted above are highly speculative, I think it's fair to counter that speculation with some probably forgotten facts.

    Nextel, long before anyone ever considered a Sprint-Nextel merger, knew it's goose was soon to be cooked with just iDEN, capacity-wise and speed-wise. To that end, Nextel was already planning on migrating its core network to CDMA (remember, it was Nextel that got exclusive rights to Qualcomm's Qchat on CDMA), adding to its voice capacity via the 1900 MHz spectrum it got as part of the rebanding negotiations, and using the 2.1 GHz and 2.5 GHz it purchased form the MCI/WorldCom debacle for a brand-new high-speed data network. All of which pointed to relieving the iDEN bottleneck, and preparing for the data onslaught they knew was coming, all that planning taking place in the 2003 timeframe.

    In fact, recall that Nextel was already running a limited, real-world trial with Flarion in the Research Triangle area, and I believe those trials predated Verizon's & AT&T's LTE startup.

    So, although it is possible your speculative statements above could have come true, it is actually probably more likely that Nextel eventually would have done fine on its own, once it got its iDEN network converted to CDMA and got Flarion (or a likely successor to Flarion) up & running in the 2.5 GHz band for high-speed data in large population centers. Or at least they could have remained quite viable until a competent company bought them out, rather than the ham-fisted Sprint. I think we can all agree that there is absolutely no question that both Nextel & Sprint would have been better off had they never merged together.

    Again, not disputing the bulk of your post, just trying to give a fair hearing for the Nextel side of it to counter your strong, IMO over-wrought, anti-Nextel statements at the beginning of your post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SDC_01 View Post
    \To that end, Nextel was already planning on migrating its core network to CDMA (remember, it was Nextel that got exclusive rights to Qualcomm's Qchat on CDMA), adding to its voice capacity via the 1900 MHz spectrum it got as part of the rebanding negotiations, and using the 2.1 GHz and 2.5 GHz it purchased form the MCI/WorldCom debacle for a brand-new high-speed data network.
    There was 2.1 ghz. spectrum as well as 2.5? Never heard of it... how much, and does Sprint still have this?

    Quote Originally Posted by SDC_01 View Post
    So, although it is possible your speculative statements above could have come true, it is actually probably more likely that Nextel eventually would have done fine on its own, once it got its iDEN network converted to CDMA and got Flarion (or a likely successor to Flarion) up & running in the 2.5 GHz band for high-speed data in large population centers. Or at least they could have remained quite viable until a competent company bought them out, rather than the ham-fisted Sprint. I think we can all agree that there is absolutely no question that both Nextel & Sprint would have been better off had they never merged together.
    I think the big question with that was that Nextel still would have had to go through rebanding... and they still would have had to convert people to CDMA... It still would have been a HUGE pain in the ***... BUT your right -- I think they would have done a better job than Sprint did. As for Flarion, I know someone who had it in Charlotte -- for it's time, he said it was absolutely the most amazing thing... Had Sprint continued down the road with Flarion in their PCS spectrum, they would have had something that would have whipped EV-DO, competed with HSDPA, and would have got them along until LTE came out... Of course they decided to let Clear do their 4G network for them -- and we know how that turned out.

    I agree... Sprint and Nextel was a disaster... Sprint and Alltel would have been much, MUCH better.

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    What's with the revisionist history? What could have been and what was are two completely different things. I understand the sentimental desire to rewrite history, but it's a purely philosophical exercise at this point. Nextel is dead. Let's move on. Where Sprint goes from here is more important than where they have been. We cannot relive the past. Sprint has had many mishaps, but the only thing they can do with the past is learn from it. Going forward, there will be growing pains, but the future looks bright.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NGeorge View Post
    With Sprint losing 1 million IDEN lines, I'm wondering how many of these lines were actually used... I'd be interested in seeing the porting stats--how many of these lines went to other providers (Sprint got over 300k back) vs. How many just terminated when the network shut down--as in the lines weren't used, were just 'extra' corporate lines or glovebox phones or were otherwise just forgotten about.
    Considering that these lines were paying subs, paying an added $10 a month as a tax for not migrating out of iDEN for the last 12 months, that's an awful lot of wasted money to just stick your phone in a glovebox and forget about it. I'd have a hard time believing most of these subs were dormant.


    I also wonder if the capture rate would have been better had Sprint mailed out similar CDMA PTT phones to these lines that hadn't responded by a few months before shutdown with a note 'Since our network is changing, we've sent you a new device to continue your service. To activate it, call this number. If you'd like to change providers, mail it back within 30 days and port your number out by 6/30/13 otherwise a change of XXX will appear on your final invoice.'
    The problem is, CDMA PTT on Sprint was pretty universally panned by users who tried it. Rumblings are that Sprint will lean heavily on LTE and Network Vision-enahanced cells to make PTT services a bit more palatable to the very few post-Nextel customers that are sticking around and still want PTT.


    IIRC this is what ATT did with TDMA when they shut it down... I don't think Sprint did. When faced with a ready to go new phone at their door (that has to be mailed back if you don't use it) or having to shop for a new provider, I bet the recapture rate would have been MUCH higher.
    No, I suspect that the greater number of Nextel users that stuck around to the bitter end were more informed about their choice and why they kept on that network, than AT&T's old TDMA users were. Remember, Sprint was aggressively mailing iDEN users about what was going on, sending texts leading up to the shutdown, and some users even reported getting call intercepts with pre-recorded voice reminders every time they made an outgoing call, in the last month iDEN was active. They were even charging iDEN users an extra fee to hit them in the pocketbook and nudge them harder to migrate. An iDEN user would've had to try really hard to ignore all the warnings about what was coming, to just wake up one day and wonder why their phone stopped working all of a sudden.

    AT&T was not even close to being that aggressive about it. Old TDMA users did get friendly letters and upgrade choices, but it was still low key compared to Sprint's tactics. Sprint's plan, by contrast, was to make continued iDEN use as unpleasant as they could possibly get away with, in the hopes those users would get fed up and migrate.

    Add to that: if you look at the Nextel forums, those users had a real affinity to iDEN, and wanted to stay. You couldn't convince them that their network was obsolete, or that there were better technologies they should migrate to. They were there because they truly felt (even if everyone else disagreed and hard the hard facts to back them up) that it was superior to CDMA or anything else out there.

    So, I'm pretty convinced that iDEN users who stayed to the end and then left for other carriers post-shutdown deliberately did so. Many may well have had phones on other carriers ready in advance, but kept their old phones to keep using them till they couldn't anymore. Further, I suspect most had hard feelings about Sprint's plans for the shutdown and the tactics used, not to mention having prejudged the CDMA side as being inferior in quality. With the way Sprint treated these users, I have doubts that much could've been done to keep them when the time came to pull the plug on Nextel.

    Left: iPhone 6+ on T-Mobile. Right: Comcast home internet connection.

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