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Sprint's Losing Ways Linger

Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by Andy, Jan 10, 2008.

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  1. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Sprint's (S) woes intensified at year-end as mobile phone subscribers fled in mass. The flailing No.3 wireless shop is expected to report that it lost more than a half million customers in the fourth quarter, say analysts and industry watchers. Unlike other players feeling squeezed by competition, Sprint can't blame a softening economy for its steepening plunge. Rival AT&T (T) is expected to report blowout subscriber gains and No.2 Verizon Wireless -- co-owned by Verizon (VZ) and Vodafone (VOD) -- is likely to add another big win to its robust growth record.

    In its third quarter, Sprint lost 337,000 subscribers, an alarming rate given the strength of the wireless market. But Sprint's losses have been a big gain for rivals.

    Thanks to a strong phone lineup including Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and a big push in its prepaid business, AT&T hooked upwards of 2.4 to 2.7 million net new users in the fourth quarter, according to research notes Thursday from Cowen and Bear Stearns. Analysts expect Verizon to post a solid 1.9 million subscriber gain.

    Sprint's latest disappointment will be an especially hard test of already skittish investor loyalty since the company will offer no assuring business forecast, say observers. Sprint plans to postpone financial guidance until spring, after new CEO Dan Hesse completes a sweeping strategic review.

    A Sprint representative declined to comment on fourth-quarter numbers, adding that "we are preparing our earnings report for next month." Sprint has not yet scheduled an earnings release date.

    Sprint's two-year post-Nextel merger slide hasn't exactly slowed down.

    The stock has fallen 21% in the past month even as the board picked a capable successor to ousted CEO Gary Forsee.

    "At $12, it's trading at asset value at this point, and I still can't say that it has reached a bottom yet," says one telecom investor who has no Sprint position.

    The company has put a freeze on all new deals and development in its crucial WiMax wireless network effort, say people familiar with the moves. Hesse has been scheduling sitdowns with each of his top managers as he attempts to put a plan together, one source says.

    Analysts and sources close to the company expect Hesse to announce a major management shakeup and a shift of headquarters back to Kansas.

    If true, the consolidation in Sprint's home campus will spell even more neglect for the Nextel side of the company.

    Sprint shares were recently up 4 cents to $12.38 Thursday.

    Sprint's Losing Ways Linger - News & Analysis - Technology - S - VZ
     
  2. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    Man, I'm starting to feel bad for Sprint. What's up with them? :dunno:
     
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    #2 RadioRaiders, Jan 10, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2008
  3. RJB

    RJB Gold Senior Member
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    Huh well you know I dont like to see this but "life is a box of chocolates you never know what you are going to get":.
     
  4. KyleAndMelissa22

    KyleAndMelissa22 Woot Woot, Splat !!!
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    It seems Sprint has given up on expanding signal in Upstate SC & Piedmont/Western NC.
    Population growth in the Charlotte & Greenville areas are expanding out rapidly towards my location.
    I live 3 miles from a major interstate (I-85) and Sprint/Nextel CDMA & iDEN is the only one with low signal.
     
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  5. RadioFoneGuy

    RadioFoneGuy Powered by HTC FUZE
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    [Sprint has] degraded service, a poorly maintained and older system, Sprints CS has made a poor image for both branches of the company. There are tons of other reason they are the way they are, but with a new chief, new marketing and postponing their 3G efforts they will come back.

    Sprint is down on their luck but they will be back.
     
    #5 RadioFoneGuy, Jan 10, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2008
  6. QLR

    QLR RIP Note!
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    Wow... if this keeps up, TMobile and Alltel will have the same number of subscribers as Sprint LOL

    Sprint seems to be ok in these parts but the network quality seems to be on the decline. More people are complaining about the CDMA service than before in my area although they are adding sites in town... My bud asked me about my Verizon service and plans :eek: The IDEN network has been the bastard stepchild here ever since the Nextel Partners days... it's time for SouthernLinc to step up their marketing to steal the PTT customers from Sprint ;)

    Around here, more folks are choosing AT&T, Alltel, and Verizon.

    Sprint doesnt have a specific direction or vision. I wasnt aware of any campaigns besides the Boost Unlimited... I saw Sprint's billboard (Sprint Ahead) touting their coverage/quality both here in Tallahassee and in Atlanta. So perhaps they are trying to tout their service. IMHO, Sprint doesnt have anything special besides the cheap (in cost, I'm not bashing them) service.

    How low will the numbers go? Probably lower if Sprint stalls... I just hope that it wont take more than 9-12 months to right the fiscal ship.
     
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  7. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Yes, I have noticed that as well- Sprint has been touting their coverage on billboards I have seen recently in Nevada and California, for example "Coverage Jackpot" in Reno, Nevada, and a touting coverage ad on a coffee I got at a gas station in California.
     
  8. KyleAndMelissa22

    KyleAndMelissa22 Woot Woot, Splat !!!
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    Not long now, probably within the next year, lol ;)
     
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  9. walkguru

    walkguru Wireless Guru
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    Wirelessly posted (Walkguru's: Opera/9.50 (J2ME/MIDP; Opera Mini/4.0.9800/230; U; en))

    poor sprint.
     
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  10. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    You're in Florida right? I really doubt CDMA service is on the decline anywhere and especially not in Florida. New sites = better service not declining service. If anything it either stays the same or gets better.
     
  11. AL904a

    AL904a Member
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    I travel by car around the state of Florida (and the whole southeast) frequently, and find Sprint's coverage to be improving. I would rate Florida coverage (in the areas I travel) to be excellent. Of course, Sprint users always have Alltel and Verizon roaming to fall back on.

    On the customer-service side, I recently called Sprint with a pretty complex issue that involved moving one of my lines from a CDMA family plan to a new Direct-Connect family plan, changing my prior CDMA family plan to a single line plan, changing my single-line direct connect plan to a direct-connect family plan, activating a (not-newly purchased) hybrid phone,etc. I was prepared to spend the next couple of days trying to get my changes accomplished.

    To my amazement, the Sprint rep handled my request in a single call, and the whole process went astonishingly smoothly. I have used Sprint since the year 2000. The customer service in 2008 is far, far, better than ever, in my experience.

    IMHO, Sprint may be down now, but will come back stronger than ever! I think they have an exciting future!

    (By the way, I DO NOT OWN any Sprint stock, and I don't work for Sprint.)
     
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  12. QLR

    QLR RIP Note!
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    Yeah, I am in the Florida Panhandle. I hope that service isnt on the decline in these parts... its just that people I talk to locally are complaining about their service.
     
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  13. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    You're right, adding sites normally = better coverage.

    BUT...CDMA is a very fickle technology, and if the new sites aren't planned and intergrated correctly, they can wreak havoc on the radio side (interference, blocked calls, dropped calls, etc.) and the overall quality can get worse.

    This could be the case here. Maybe Sprint is just throwing up the sites quickly without doing proper planning first. :confused: Hopefully they will realize thier problem and correct it soon.
     
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  14. RadioFoneGuy

    RadioFoneGuy Powered by HTC FUZE
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    Alltel has some of the same issues, they put up some towers but the handoffs werent correct.

    I live in a hilly area which can beat the crap out of the carriers signals. You would be on Alltels closest towers then go down in a valley lose the closest towers signal and lock into a tower 30 miles away then go back up another hill and lose signal with the tower 30 miles away and phone would drop the call.

    A buddy of mine was working over there and said he found about 20 of these issues and he only had 35 towers.

    Network issues are handled by market basis and the local engineering and management teams not at the corporate level. So if an area has gotten bad it either a lack of maintanence or proper planning, phone settings or over the air updates. Sprint contractors could be to blame as well, new towers dont alway go up as planned I have had to have tower crew go back and fix other contractors error because the antennas and line were not put together right.
     
    #14 RadioFoneGuy, Jan 11, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2008
  15. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    ...and that's why it's really important for carriers to do drive testing on a semi-regular basis, or at least every time they make major changes to their networks (ie: adding new sites). If the neighbor cells aren't correctly defined, there's going to be alot of failed handovers resulting in dropped calls.

    The sites are planned in a computer simlulated tool with a topigraphical map, and altho it gives you a good basis for planning, you really won't know the actualy conditions until you get in a car and go drive and see how it is in reality. In the simulation, the site 30 miles away probably looks like it won't overlap with another cell 30 miles in the other direction. But in reality, it might (as your buddy has seen).

    The coverage plots the management is looking at is probably a simulation or an outdated drive test, and they look at that and say "Hey, our network looks great! Why do we have all these upset customers? :confused:" :rolleyes: ....or maybe they just don't have the $ or just don't care? :dunno:
     
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  16. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    ...and still Consumer Reports insist on putting Sprint and AT&T together at the bottom of the pile.
     
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  17. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    Don't always believe everything you hear. Sure they might have customer service problems and these things can lead to people making other exaggerated claims (such as coverage gettting worse) as well.

    Come on you don't actually believe that's what's happening do you? No carrier is just going to throw up sites without engineering them properly. I've seen Sprint put up hundreds of sites here in my area and they've done an excellent job with the handoffs and neighbor list. I don't see any reason to believe it's any different anywhere else (except maybe affiliate markets). If they're putting up new sites it's for a reason. To improve coverage and/or capacity and that certainly doesn't make things worse.
     
  18. RJB

    RJB Gold Senior Member
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    Well if he is hearing this from people there I think he can warrant his claim.
     
  19. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    Sorry I'm not convinced. I gave an explanation as to why in my post above. But that's just my opinion. The best way to judge a carrier's coverage is by recent first hand experience. Not 2nd, 3rd and 4th hand information.
     
  20. RJB

    RJB Gold Senior Member
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    Well I am not here to convince you but I and others should believe someone who have been to these places or in fact live there. Opposed to someone who makes claims on their home area and assume that the rest of this huge nation is the same.
     
  21. Gamer03

    Gamer03 Technology Aficionado
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    In my part of Florida (Southwest Florida to be exact), Verizon's network has declined and Sprint's has improved.
     
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  22. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    I highlighted could for a reason. I don't really know what's Sprint doing in Florida. Altho if they are adding new sites and the quality got worse, that's a plausible reason.

    :rotfl:
    I have to strongly disagree with you on that. I've been in this biz a while now and have worked all over the world and have seen alot of carriers mess up their roll-outs big time. They rush the roll-out so they can get sites on-air and have nice, pretty coverage maps to show their customers. But because it was rolled-out too fast everyone trips over their own shoes and it takes them years to clean up the mess. But hey, as long as management and marketing has pretty coverage maps to go with their press release, who cares if the network is a mess, right? :rolleyes:

    ....again, I'm just generalizing. I have no idea what Sprint is doing. Maybe they are doing a stand-up job with their roll-outs. Maybe not... :dunno:
     
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  23. Studogvetmed

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    Well I'm back after a hiatus.

    Just upgraded our sprint Phones after two years of service. I never thought I would be "sprint" customer becuase all I had ever heard was "CS sucks, Coverage Suck" but after looking at prices compared to the other carriers, and seeing that being able to rollback to 6pm nights/weekends for only 10$ more. I reviewed their coverage and roaming and found for the same price as verizon I got more minutes and free minutes earlier. So we plunged in.

    Yes occasionally our roaming or service (with phones) have not been up to part, but my customer service experiences have always been stellar, and to point out that my rebate period had been extended because of an ESN swap and a nice CS person was able to work the codes to allow me to upgrade now instead of July, I didn't even ask, she said she would do it for me.

    So far so good. The upgrade process went very smoothly at the Sprint store as well. The Rep was helpful, but no pressure, but always answered questions promptly and well. He even transfered all the contacts from our old phones to our new phones. Very nice.

    Sprint may be on the down swing, but hopefully things are going to be on the upswing in the future as things move on.

    We have been treated well by sprint, so they have gain a couple of loyal customers for the next two years.

    Sprint may not be the best, but they are certainly not as bad as some of the more vocal would make them out to be.
     
  24. M in LA

    M in LA Mobile 28 Years Plus
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    I don't believe these subscriber losses are much on the Sprint side. It's the Nextel side that's hemorrhaging something fierce. But put together, the company as a whole, is crashing.
    Hopefully QChat will help alleviate the Nextel slide.
     
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  25. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Has the Florida Panhandle been annexed by Los Angeles County or something?

    This country is large and unfortunately does not only consist of Southern California; different budgets, different network engineers/teams, different goals and different planning, etc etc.
     
  26. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Mike,
    I have no doubt in my mind that the NEXTEL side is losing bad and worse than the CDMA side. Let's guess a little here...the CDMA side should be adding what...maybe about 1 million net customers per quarter? I mean Sprint should add just about what T-Mobile does, if not more, so between 600k-1 Mill. Say this is true, then the iDEN side would have to lose over a million net customers for the past few quarters to bring Sprint numbers as a whole down so far. If that is true, too, then that is really sad that Sprint is unable to retain iDEN customers and move them over to the CDMA side. And also, if CDMA is adding a lot of customers, it should cancel out with NEXTEL's negative numbers.
     
  27. RJB

    RJB Gold Senior Member
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    I really hope Qchat works its magic as well. I say this because most of the people I work with have nextel and depend on this kind of service. In fact in the construction field (which I am not in) I see multiple job sites where that is all I hear is the chirp.
     
  28. QLR

    QLR RIP Note!
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    I do agree that first hand experience is most valuable... but I do value my friends' (especially of those who work and stay near me) opinions... and the majority of those had only a so so (or worse) experience. I had my own bad experiences with Sprint but that was a while ago; I do not bash the company as a whole... besides, 50M+ cant be wrong.

    Although I wouldnt go back to them, I encourage folks to try the company out thoroughly before the trial ends.
     
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  29. strunke

    strunke .:|Always Covered|:.
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    The problem with Sprint, is it's name, and terrible affiliates.

    In America today, perception, PR, and image mean more then substance. I mean just look at the most popular politicians in the lime light today. Sprint has kept iDen too long ( i mean either fully utilize it or lose it). Their CS is lacking. Other then that they are not much different then the others. They do use too many "patches" and not enough overhauls to problems with their network but they are getting better. They have good prices as well......they just need to change their name.....maybe to something like......Alltel......:) Maybe buy the Cellular One name and go at it??? Too many people equate Sprint with crap because of previous bad experiences. No matter what they do, it won't matter. They could cure cancer and people will still complain, and this fits in with my previous assessment of certain hated politicians doing something like that. It wouldn't matter.

    EDIT: I thought of a new name! "Marathon" "Sprint has grown up". :p They'll have to convince the gasoline station franchises to let them.
     
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  30. M in LA

    M in LA Mobile 28 Years Plus
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    True Andy, I hear what you're saying. By the same token, all of the bad press Sprint has been getting, from customer service issues, Nextel problems, merger-related issues, etc., would be enough to adversely affect quarterly growth. Is Sprint's network really that poor? I don't have them, so I can't say, but they have been making good use of Nextel sites to improve their network.

    I don't believe Sprint's network is the problem, it's everything else. It's just my guess, though...:)
     
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