Light Reading
Sprint's Network Vision is about more than improving its network; it's the carrier's only way to reverse customer losses and hold on to its unlimited promise.

Sprint Sparks to Reduce Churn, Save Unlimited

Sarah Thomas
3/10/2014
100%
0%

Sprint's No. 1 priority this year is improving its network. It's a matter of keeping both its customers and its unlimited promise, the carrier's CFO said on Monday.

Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) CFO Joe Euteneuer reiterated the remaining steps in its Network Vision upgrade. The No. 3 US operator plans to complete the rip and replace of its 3G network by midyear, at which time it will also have 250 million PoPs covered with LTE. With help from its new owner SoftBank Corp. , it also plans to cover 150 million PoPs with 800 MGhz LTE and 100 million PoPS with its tri-mode Sprint Spark network by the end of 2014. (See Sprint Sparks It in Chicago and Sprint Plans Indoor, Outdoor Small Cells in 2014.)

Sprint needs to close the gap on its competitors in terms of network functionality, but it also needs to stop the customer bleeding. That's why Network Vision is so important, even if it's causing short-term pain. Euteneuer said that churn has gone up at the operator in markets where Network Vision is in the construction phase, but it tends to go down when it nears completion. (See Sprint Feels the Churn Burn Before Spark.)

In the markets where Network Vision is now at 70% construction or more and has been up and running for four months, Sprint has seen an improvement of 20-25 basis points in churn. "The realities are churn was high in the fourth quarter; it's going to remain high in the first quarter," he said. "If we're lucky, you might start seeing it [improve] in the second quarter, because we'll have so many cities down, but it's that balance of how many cities do you have over 70% complete for how long, and then you get the benefit of that reduction in churn."

The carrier, of course, also needs to work on adding more customers, but that's priority No. 3 behind its formidable network challenges. Euteneuer said Sprint would spend extra money in the first quarter to keep the "gross add engine going." (See Sprint Adds 58K Postpaid Subs in Q4.)

"When we look at the full year, we see the positive side of net adds in the later part of the year and suffering what this construction phase is, this portion to complete, as we finish it up through the first half of the year," he said.

Euteneuer also mentioned several times that Sprint has stayed true to offering unlimited data, even as pricing competition has increased, and it's something it wants to continue to protect. Upgrading its network will help it continue to do so from a capacity perspective. Sprint is also managing the network far tighter than it ever has before, including shutting down those "five to 10 people that decide they want to run server farms" pretty quickly. (See Sprint Launches No-Sharing 'Framily' Plans and T-Mobile Leads, Sprint Suffers in Pricing Wars.)

"We run that very, very tightly, and I feel good that unlimited does have some legs and longevity," Euteneuer said. "When you saw the announcement of taking over Clearwire, that gave us a lot more runway than we ever had before."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/11/2014 | 11:09:21 AM
Re: pricing
It's a good marketing tool and is the really the one big advantage Sprint can claim over its competitors, but I wonder if it will start to hurt them financially, if not capacity-wise. They have to balance it against profitability. I bet we'll see them continue to introduce tiers, but always have unlimited as the more expensive choice. I wonder if Sprint employees really push customers away from doing unlimited.
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/10/2014 | 6:08:52 PM
Re: pricing
In the current market it might be a safe guess that unlimitied is the way to go. Building that capabiliity to add and service exisiting and new customers is always going to be some sort of gamble, as other networks try different business plans. Sprint, if lucky may just come out where they planned.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/10/2014 | 4:11:19 PM
pricing
Good to hear Sprint is holding on to unlimited, even as its competitors repeatedly shake up their pricing strategies, with the latest coming from AT&T over the weekend.

Euteneuer also said Sprint's Framily plans, which include an unlimited option, are doing really well fo it. But, he said it's too soon to see if there's a correlation between Spark markets and Framily uptake.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (5) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
Comcast Apologizes to 'A**hole' Brown
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/29/2015
US Ops Spend $32.5M to Bring 4G to Chicago's Subways
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 1/30/2015
Cablevision's New WiFi Try – Freewheeling Enough?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/26/2015
Overture Builds on NFV Foundation
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Weekly Executive Interview
Join us live for Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he has to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.