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 Reedy
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.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
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 Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (1) comment


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
LRTV Documentaries
AT&T's New Security Strategy

12|10|14   |   02:36   |   (1) comment


AT&T's Chief Security Officer Ed Amoroso explains how his company is wrapping virtual security layers around micro network domains.
LRTV Documentaries
2020 Vision: A First View

12|9|14   |   02:25   |   (3) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Iceland, unique Heavy Reading research shows that comms service providers are optimistic about the next five or so years.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
Vodafone to Ride T-Mobile Back Into US
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/12/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
Cisco Makes Big Analytics Push
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/11/2014
Gardner's Departure a Cautionary Tale
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 12/12/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Upcoming Webinars
Webinar Archive