Sprint, the number three U.S. cellular provider, has been having trouble, recently, keeping subscribers. According to the most recent numbers, Sprint lost 181,000 net postpaid subscribers in the last quarter. A year ago, before T-Mobile began the Uncarrier campaign, Sprint had reported a net gain of nearly 200,000 in the same quarter. Sprint tried to solve its problems by negotiating to buy T-Mobile. After months of trying, when the deal finally fell through then Sprint CEO Dan Hesse stepped down.
In a phone conversation, Zino said new the new service plans, in addition to the upcoming release of Apple phones, could be a "big deal" for Sprint in the coming months.
And, Sprint now has other problems to contend with. According to a new survey measuring cellular network quality Sprint has dropped to fourth place behind its rivals. RootMetrics reports Verizon is still the top U.S. carrier when it comes to speed and reliability with second place AT&T beginning to narrow the gap. T-Mobile has moved into third place with its strong showing in major urban regions. Sprint, in fourth place, is currently in the process of upgrading its 4G service across the country.
But, analyst Gerard Hallaren of Janco Partners believes Sprint is now in position to turn things around. In addition to having a new boss who knows his way around marketing hardware (such as offering $50 Apple (AAPL) iPad minis with the purchase of an iPhone 5s or 5c) Sprint is also in the process of building out its next-generation "Spark" higher-speed data network which, according to Hallaren should "blister the competition" beginning next year.
Sprint is hosting an event in New York later tonight, where it may announce new hardware as well. The company is expected to announce the first new handsets from Sharp to be introduced in the United States in years.
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-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.
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