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Thread: Inside SoftBank’s Struggle to Turn Around Sprint

  1. #31
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    My question is, then what the hell was "Network Vision"? Massively expensive (in terms of both capex and customer losses), massively painful, and yet still Sprint is in last place overall network-wise. That's the elephant in the room. What the hell was the root cause of the "Network Vision" debacle, and are any of those "planners" still employed?

    And Son is now planning a "complete network overhaul", forcing "100 of his top engineers" to slave away until the wee hours of the morning, 7 days a week. What does that say about the value added by "Network Vision"? From the 10,000-foot view, Sprint looks like a totally incompetent entity that should simply be put out of its misery.

    I suggest a "King Solomon approach": Decommission Sprint, divide all of Sprint's assets evenly between T-Mo, VZ and AT&T, then let each of the big three use their 1/3 as they see fit, and let existing Sprint customers decide which carrier to switch to. At least if all of that massive lot of spectrum assets Sprint now owns were given over to the other three, all Americans would benefit from what is today one of the country's most precious assets: RF spectrum. Or, just let T-Mo buy Sprint outright. Either way, with Sprint in control, it's just a sad, sad waste of resources & a complete waste of everyone's time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SDC_01 View Post
    I suggest a "King Solomon approach": Decommission Sprint, divide all of Sprint's assets evenly between T-Mo, VZ and AT&T, then let each of the big three use their 1/3 as they see fit, and let existing Sprint customers decide which carrier to switch to. At least if all of that massive lot of spectrum assets Sprint now owns were given over to the other three, all Americans would benefit from what is today one of the country's most precious assets: RF spectrum. Or, just let T-Mo buy Sprint outright. Either way, with Sprint in control, it's just a sad, sad waste of resources & a complete waste of everyone's time.
    But Solomon didn't actually slice the baby in half, he just threatened to. It is my belief that the US wireless market needs four major carriers to assure real competition. I don't know how to solve Sprint's problems but they need to be solved for everyone's good. You remember what the market was like back when T-Mobile was about to be absorbed by AT&T, no real competition. What we see today is what a real competitive market looks like; each carrier offering new features and network improvements at lower costs. Why? All because the underdog decided to fight back. And it wasn't all that hard, they just had to work like h*ll and think up new ways of attracting customers. I'm afraid if Sprint goes away, it will come to a precipitous halt. I remember a time when Sprint was a market disrupter. It can happen again.
    Donald Newcomb

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRNewcomb View Post
    But Solomon didn't actually slice the baby in half, he just threatened to. It is my belief that the US wireless market needs four major carriers to assure real competition. I don't know how to solve Sprint's problems but they need to be solved for everyone's good. You remember what the market was like back when T-Mobile was about to be absorbed by AT&T, no real competition. What we see today is what a real competitive market looks like; each carrier offering new features and network improvements at lower costs. Why? All because the underdog decided to fight back. And it wasn't all that hard, they just had to work like h*ll and think up new ways of attracting customers. I'm afraid if Sprint goes away, it will come to a precipitous halt. I remember a time when Sprint was a market disrupter. It can happen again.
    Given the heavy amount of government intervention in the mobile sector in this country, I would say that the government wouldn't let Sprint go full C7 even if they filed bankruptcy. They would go to C11, unleash a carpet bomb on Sprint HQ, make the shareholders and bondholders take a big haircut, then take Sprint out of C11, hopefully a lot leaner and more efficient.
    Have you read the forum rules lately?

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    Outstanding article. I also agree with the comments here that it's nice to see an owner actually admit that the situation doesn't look good. Of course, he'd be foolish not to admit that because everyone KNOWS it doesn't look good.

    Unless a miracle of some kind happens I truly believe we'll see Claure gone by the end of next year and quite possibly Sprint going up for sale (or worse).

    The real problem with Sprint is that it is a WELL KNOWN LOSER in the minds of consumers. You can fix the network all you want, but getting former subscribers to RETURN after they left for greener pastures... is not going to be so easy. Trying to entice customers into two year contracts (what they're doing right now) is a desperate move to try to gain customers and stop subscriber loss. The problem with that approach is that the entire industry is shifting AWAY from contracts.

    Softbank is going to have to dump a ton of money into fixing the network and a truck load into marketing. Also, offering a very low price is a necessity and means that any forward momentum will bring very little profit (if any).

    What is the average consumers opinion of RadioShack? Most people are amazed it didn't go under a decade ago. Well, now Sprint has joined their own washed up and hated reputation with that of RadioShack's. Brilliant! It's this kind of horrible thinking that simply adds up to WORSE than nothing.

    My personal belief is that Sprint needs to close up shop and the valuable portions need to be sold off to other carriers, etc.

    Perhaps sprint could be sold off and turned into a pre-paid only option (Boost) or merge their pre-paid divisions (Boost, Virgin) with MetroPCS (T-Mobile).

    Unless Sprint has some magic tricks up their sleeve, I see doom and gloom by the end of 2016. It's a shame, Sprint started to self destruct right after the iDen (NexTel) purchase.

    The Sprint story is definitely an interesting one.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by cellphone-guy View Post

    Trying to entice customers into two year contracts (what they're doing right now) is a desperate move to try to gain customers and stop subscriber loss.
    Except Sprint isn't advertising or enticing people to take two year contracts. They're enticing people to take lease or device financing deals. Most of Sprint's ad buy and stores sale rewards are for the lease program. Two year contracts are still offered by Sprint but they haven't been a focus of Sprint's sales force for a while.

    The lease program was one area where Sprint was actually ahead. T-Mobile implemented Jump On Demand and is pushing it hard in the stores near me. That's a lease program.


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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by fraydog View Post
    Except Sprint isn't advertising or enticing people to take two year contracts. They're enticing people to take lease or device financing deals. Most of Sprint's ad buy and stores sale rewards are for the lease program. Two year contracts are still offered by Sprint but they haven't been a focus of Sprint's sales force for a while.

    The lease program was one area where Sprint was actually ahead. T-Mobile implemented Jump On Demand and is pushing it hard in the stores near me. That's a lease program.


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    That's true, I'm sorry, I meant the two year leasing situation. Sprint is really pushing it at the moment, but they're really not adding many postpaid users. T-Mobile is doing quite well in all regards. The only forward momentum that Sprint seems to have right now is in their pre-paid divisions. My point was, why would anyone want to make any kind of commitment to join Sprint?

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    Sprint struggles due to the Glass Half Empty infection still polluting their executive orffices. You can't half clean up a mess, a thorough disinfection is a necessary evil. Until then only a luke warm effort will continue delivering mixed and poor results. It's sad to see really, since the product is much better than before, but there always seems to be plenty of shyte disturbing insiders causing the company to trip on its own shoelaces. C'mon Masa, it's time to take the bull by the horns and set the ship on a proper course.
    PREPAID means I have all the power.
    They want me, but they can't have me...


    Virgin Mobile: $50 / $10 | Total Wireless: $25

  8. #38
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    I had suspected that Son's intent all along was to gobble up a bunch of the smaller carriers and make the United States have a "Big 3". When Softbank acquired Sprint, Sprint was the best carrier to buy first because of its stake in Clearwire. Also, interest in Clearwire's spectrum was starting to increase around that time; Verizon had even placed a bid for some of its spectrum. IMO, Softbank had to act fast and I think they made the most logical choice.

    At this point, it makes much more sense from a spectrum standpoint for T-Mobile to acquire its smaller regional rivals, ie Cspire, USCC, etc. I think Softbank's acquisition ambitions should be done, unless the next presidential election allows someone more permissive to let Softbank get T-Mobile. However, I do think Softbank can still salvage Sprint. It can start by selling/leasing some of its 2.5GHz to some of the bigger carriers, participating in the 600MHz auction, and getting a new CEO.
    nex·us [nek-suhs]
    noun, plural nex·us·es, nex·us.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by fraydog View Post
    Given the heavy amount of government intervention in the mobile sector in this country, I would say that the government wouldn't let Sprint go full C7 even if they filed bankruptcy. They would go to C11, unleash a carpet bomb on Sprint HQ, make the shareholders and bondholders take a big haircut, then take Sprint out of C11, hopefully a lot leaner and more efficient.
    I'd hope that Chapter 11 would happen and the FCC would voice a strong opinion to get the 2.5ghz and their PCS spectrum out of their hands. They've completely mismanaged their portfolio of spectrum that is most likely the only asset at this point that makes Sprint worth anything. They are not growing, they bought a failed retail presences, etc.

    What's sad is, all the spectrum Sprint sits on and doesn't use is worth more than their entire company based off the AWS3 auction and the speculation on the upcoming 600mhz auction.

    I get Sprint isn't capable of utilizing their 2.5ghz and that's why it should be forced off in a sale if/when they go Chapter 11. What I don't get though with their ailing network and why Softbank can't fix it is - why are they not using ALL of the 2.5ghz where they have it deployed? They have like 60mhz and only use a 1/3rd of it. Why? Additionally, why are they only using 5+5 of PCS G block they have for LTE? What about all the PCS they have CDMA on? Turn off most of that terrible CDMA and put LTE on it instead. It'd be better as their network is spaced for PCS and LTE might actually work. If you look at sensorly in my city, it's light purple everywhere - they don't seem to have strong signal anywhere.

  10. #40
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    Inside SoftBank’s Struggle to Turn Around Sprint

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphling27 View Post
    What I don't get though with their ailing network and why Softbank can't fix it is - why are they not using ALL of the 2.5ghz where they have it deployed? .
    Lots of cities are running multiple TD-LTE carriers and 2x carrier aggregation at this point. Here's the list:

    http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/e...ficially-live/

    Also reference http://www.theverge.com/2015/7/7/890...oubled-or-even as a primer on carrier aggregation.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/Sprint/comme..._last_2_weeks/ Another example.

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    What just blows me away is how they don't want to spend the money to fix Sprint. Everyone knows they need more coverage. Absolutely everyone. But they're trying to do everything besides add coverage.

    Add the damn sites, fix the coverage, and then customers will come.

    But this 3+ year build of Network Vision, followed by another "18-24" months is just letting the problem languish.

    And the cost to fix it is minimal - especially with vendors willing to finance a chunk of the equipment. Softbank already got a bargain on Sprint due to its status as broken.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by trupatriot1 View Post
    What just blows me away is how they don't want to spend the money to fix Sprint. Everyone knows they need more coverage. Absolutely everyone. But they're trying to do everything besides add coverage.

    Add the damn sites, fix the coverage, and then customers will come.

    But this 3+ year build of Network Vision, followed by another "18-24" months is just letting the problem languish.

    And the cost to fix it is minimal - especially with vendors willing to finance a chunk of the equipment. Softbank already got a bargain on Sprint due to its status as broken.
    There's site additions happening. I've seen some Project Ocean adds in the region around St. Louis like the Sparta site I mentioned and I know Project Cedar (westward) is going on, but I wonder if it's enough.

    In the end, just get the network right. That will help more than anything.


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  13. #43
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    This article vindicates what I suspected about Mr Sons ambitious plans for Sprint and the USA.
    Definitely not the end of everything, by all means, but now we know that he had his doubts and not something that he was upbeat as portrayed during his speeches.

    And, yet it seems that he and SoftBank President Nikesh Arora had their doubts.
    http://www.kansascity.com/news/busin...e30944820.html
    http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/...und/2015-08-12

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    Quote Originally Posted by trupatriot1 View Post
    What just blows me away is how they don't want to spend the money to fix Sprint.
    Fix Sprint?
    Fixing Sprint once and for all would "cost us tremendous money, and Sprint does not have that much money," Son said. Also, SoftBank's covenants with Japanese banks prevent sinking more cash into Sprint.
    http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/...und/2015-08-12

    Oops it looks like Son isn't the boss he proclaims to be. It looks like the Japanese banks own Mr Son and they're calling the shots on how much money can be spent on Sprint. It sounds like to me Mr Son took really had to sell the deal to his backers. I'm going to guess that Mitsubishi UJF Financial Group, Sumitmoto Mitsui Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group are his backers and the ones calling the shots. Maybe one or all of them, helped him out with the financing, and I say this because those are the largest banks in Japan who can realistically pony up the cash to help Mr Son buy Sprint and upgrade the network.

    Ultimately, how far Sprint will be fixed is all up to the suits bankrolling Mr. Sons gig and their mood because SoftBank isn't the one providing the cash, it's the suits who agreed to give him the money in the first place. They get to call the shots...not Mr Son.
    Last edited by i0wnj00; 08-15-2015 at 01:47 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trupatriot1 View Post
    What just blows me away is how they don't want to spend the money to fix Sprint.
    The WSJ article does say that they will be pumping money into Sprint but not directly (see below). Son also changed Claure's contract to be mostly incentive based, one incentive is based on getting the stock price up to $8/share from its current just over $4/share price.

    It's obvious Son misjudged the market here and that his long term goal is to get out from under Sprint. He also knows no one wants Sprint till it becomes competitive so in order to get out he has to fix it.

    "The company plans to form two stand-alone entities backed by SoftBank and other investors to finance some construction and phone-handset leasing costs. The move would keep additional debt off Sprint’s balance sheet."

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