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Can Sprint’s Management be Trusted?

Posted In Editorials, Featured - By Mark Hearn On Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 2:08pm PST With 43 Comments

At the end of 2007, Dan Hesse officially took the reigns of a troubled Sprint and officially became the company’s CEO. Ah, this truly was a new day. Almost as soon as he arrived, Hesse began pounding the pavement with a barrage of sincere, stylish black and white TV spots introducing himself and his agenda. After a ton of effort, which saw Sprint improve their customer service, create a variety of competitive service plans and introduce the nation’s first 4G smartphone, Hesse appeared to be Sprint’s knight in shining armor. But sadly, all good things must come to an end.

Recently Hesse and the gang have made some tough decisions, resulting in both shareholders and customers questioning the group’s competence. Though the HTC EVO 4G remains one of Sprint’s most successful phones to date, the WiMAX network that it helped launch is a completely different story. Sure, they got the early 4G jump on the competition, but about as fast as you could say “LTE,” WiMAX became yesterday’s news.

As it stands today, Sprint has currently fallen behind in the very 4G race it started a couple of years ago.With manufacturers focusing on LTE and WiMAX becoming the Betamax of 4G, Sprint appears to be stuck in a bit of a limbo. While working to launch their new LTE network, Sprint customers continue to miss out on new hardware. This alone has caused even the most loyal of customers to consider taking their business elsewhere.

In addition to playing an expensive game of catch up, Team Hesse has racked up a laundry list of bills from risky investments, which include: Clearwire, LightSquared and most recently Apple. With recent rumors of Sprint secretly trying to acquire MetroPCS for around $8 billion we’ve gotta ask, when does it end and when it finally does, will it be too late?


About - Mark is the founding father of SprintFeed. He is a nerd's nerd if ever such a thing existed. His love affair with the Now Network started with the release of the Treo 600 back in 2004 and has been going strong ever since. Highly opinionated and somewhat eccentric he shares his ramblings about his network of choice here at SprintFeed.

  • http://twitter.com/pseagraves Phil Seagraves

    Once Sprint gets LTE up and running, everything should be okay. For the early adopters of the HTC Evo 4G and the Epic 4G, it is about time for an upgrade on their phones. Which would put them at being some of the first people using Sprints LTE network (if they chose to upgrade to a 4G phone again). 4G still is not the best thing around right now, phones still die pretty quick when using just 4G all day long.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pandabair Jerald Whitaker

    Sprint invested no money in LightSquared. They received money from LS2 to build their network for them and also received a few billion in credit for future use. The $65 million that sprint RETURNED to LS2 was a “down payment” from them to sprint.

  • Tommy Thompson


  • TonyArcher

    This is more than a little sensationalist. Yes Wimax was a terrible decision. Luckily, most of the burden falls on Clearwire, but it hurts Sprint a ton to have to send reserves to Clearwire to upgrade, and upgrade later than everyone else.

    Everything else has been pretty smart. The Light Squared deal is all neutral. Send back money given to them. Nothing more. Any good accountant could have managed that cash properly.

    MetroPCS didn’t happen, so I’m not going to lose sleep.

    The hardware comment is bologne, as HTC, Motorola, Samsung and Apple all have released top devices for Sprint close to when their rivals have gotten them and Sprint is willing to release LTE devices as shown by the Galaxy Nexus.

    Network Vision will be an amazing upgrade, and all the biggest markets seem to be in the middle of or starting deployment very soon. The Sprint Network will be very filled with LTE and much improved 3g by 2013. If they can get the PCS block H spectrum, they will be looking very good spectrum wise as well!

  • seven2k

    $20b for iphone…i dont know. He bet the farm on it.

  • http://twitter.com/MisterHearn Mark Hearn

    I was referring to it their planned partnership, not actual cash. But thanks for the read, hope you enjoyed it.

  • Tommy Thompson

    In my opinion the Apple deal was a do or die situation. Apple knew Sprint needed the iPhone and Apple capitalized on it. If you don’t think Sprint needed the iPhone just look at Tmo as example. How many customers did the only carrier without the iPhone lose last quarter? A LOT.

    I believe Wimax was also do or die situation, or rather, a use it or lose it situation. From my understanding Sprint was told to either use their spectrum or lose it and since LTE wasn’t ready for primetime they went with Wimax.

  • http://twitter.com/therealmattdub Matthew Wester

    You say what needs to be said…. Curious what he has in store for his keynote slot, and will it restore confidence?

  • Tommy Thompson

    I am hoping Sprint incorporates and on/off switch like they did with Wimax. I think it would help those battery life woes a lot.

  • DollarsnSense

    {sigh} the $20b myth continues. The actual number was $15.5b.

  • Tommy Thompson

    But can you really blame Sprint for Lightsquared faltering? They didn’t gain anything, but they didn’t lose anything after all.

  • marvel83

    Oh, that makes it better. $15.5b plus the loss of the premier program and a bunch of other programs and benefits that made Sprint great.

  • GregW

    WiMAX was the only option as there was no LTE, due to FCC regulations with 2.5-2.6GHz, it was either “use it or lose it” deadline with only WiMAX available for launch on that spectrum back then. Too many people out there are unaware of this.

  • Oversight68

    Agreed. This was far more than a little sensationalistic.

  • Oversight68

    Too many people ignore this fact.

  • Freak4Dell

    Depends. I think they absolutely can be trusted. Trusted to screw things up, that is. They’ve proven that several times recently.

  • ChadBroChillz

    Actually they gained 125million dollars. LS gave them 290 million up front, and Sprint had to pay back 65 million. Sounds like a Win for Sprint either way.

  • Adam bublitz

    i hate the on off switch for wimax…sure its great for the evo because it has crappy battery life, but a 4g phone should be automatic…not a manual thing, 3g would be unusable if it had an on off switch. Most 4g LTE phones are getting better with battery life anyways

  • Davidksims

    When I get my WiMAX, call me!

  • Oversight68

    I’d guess the initial phones will have a way to do this. Especially since the LTE coverage will be isolated to a handful of markets right off the bat.

  • Tommy Thompson

    Depends for me. If LTE coverage is great then I am okay with automatic switching, but if it’s spotty as hell like Wimax and has to constantly switch between 3G, and 4G I would rather have a switch.

  • http://twitter.com/Razgriz24 Randall K

    Spoken like a true iSheep.

  • http://twitter.com/Razgriz24 Randall K

    Hesse was doing good until he bet the company on the iSheep. From there, things have been going downhill fast.

  • Tommy Thompson

    You sir, are an idiot. I don’t own an iPhone and never have. I am an Android fanboy if anything at all. Go back under your bridge where you clearly belong or at least read an entire post before bullshit starts coming out of your mouth.

  • Oversight68

    So what other choices did Sprint have? Your customers are leaving you in droves because they want the iPhone. Relatively high value customers who spend 60, 70, 80 bucks a month at minimum, or even more if they have shared lines. Your total network rebuild is going to take at minimum a few years to complete, including killing IDEN, deploying CDMA and LTE to that spectrum, and retiring tens of thousands of unecessary sites. What else is Sprint supposed to do?

    They’re losing hundreds of thousands of customers, their income is falling. Sprint exercised the only real option it had and made the deal to give a sizable portion of their customer base what they wanted, the iPhone. Lock those customers in for two years, bring in more when the LTE iteration of the jesus phone launches, and start to ride it out.

    Oh, and no, I’m not an iPhone user. I don’t use anything i related unless I have to.

  • http://twitter.com/Razgriz24 Randall K

    All the meanwhile irritating their current customers by the degradation of the network and changing their policies to make up for the amount of money they had to spend to acquire it.

  • http://twitter.com/Razgriz24 Randall K

    Not an idiot, just making an observation. I read the entire thing. Clearly, you’re the one trolling here. Why so butthurt?

  • Sprint Customer

    Its been one disaster after another. From promising unlimited data (which was taken away from aircards and mobile hotspots while not grandfathering existing customers unlimited data plans) to promising 4g without any increased costs ( then came the famous $10 smartphone mandatory unlimited data fee), to The Sprint Premier Customer Reward plan that allowed discounted accessories, 1 year phone upgrades and other perks then that too was taken away after a about
    year. , to deploying wimax in a high frequency band that has poor range and cannot penetrate buildings so that its pretty much useless, to phasing out IDEN network which still has lots of loyal customers From Nextel chasing them away.. Etc…etc.. Lie after Lie , false promise after false promise and one bad decision after another, I believe Hesse is destroying Sprint as well as chasing away its loyal customers with his incompetence.

  • Oversight68

    Again, at the end of the day, what choice did Sprint have but to offer the iPhone?

  • http://www.laylebaker.com/ Layle Baker

    Randall: and calling people “iSheep” and “butthurt” ISN’T trolling?

    pot … kettle .. black

  • techkraut

    All those loyal iDEN customers can pick up a new CDMA ptt device which, btw, performs better than iDEN ever did. There simply are not enough customers left on iDEN to pay for a nationwide network.

  • Davidksims

    Thanks for the lesson as i did not know this fact.

  • Tommy Thompson

    Nothing I said in my initial post could even partially classify my as a troll or an iFan. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would know how important a device like the iPhone is for the carriers because of it’s popularity. Has nothing to do with actually liking the device. It’s called intelligence.

  • kingp

    I can’t believe all of the Sprint apologists here that actually think these were good decisions. Even if Sprint didn’t lose much money (we’re still talking BILLIONS for the iPhone, alone)…the amount of time that Sprint has wasted and the failed partnerships, still gives one a legitimate reason to question Sprint’s leadership.

    I think Mark brings up some very interesting points. The fact that the board voted down Hesse’s green light on the MetroPCS acquisition, should be enough to validate this point. The board didn’t have confidence in Hesse’s decision…watch for more of that to come.

  • Mica32

    As much as I hate Apple as a company I completely agree sprint gained a lot of customers and tmobile is the perfect example of why sprint had to carry the icrap to remain competitive.

  • Jacob

    Common sense and facts do not make an apologist.

    How much have AT&T and Verizon had to pay for the iPhone? Um, billions of dollars. So what’s the difference? The spectrum used for WiMax was a use it or lose it type deal and LTE wasn’t ready for primetime. So what was Sprint supposed to do? Sprint had no control over the Lightsquared fiasco. Nextel on the surface was a big mess, but Sprint may have the last laugh if the Network Vision build out goes as planned and that spectrum is converted to CDMA and LTE. The Metro acquisition makes sense in alot of way, giving Sprint additional spectrum and customers, but the board is right, with everything else going on it is is not the right time.

  • Tommy Thompson

    Thank you for reading and understanding what I was saying instead of replying with douchey comments! :)

  • AyaisMUsikWhore

    Even though Sprint has been on an up and down spiral, i look at it this way. I’ve never had to argue with them about a bill, regardless of it being 3g or “false” 4g, I’m still getting unlimited.. More than anyone on any network is getting. My phone can be replaced if it’s giving a problem and etc… They are giving me more than any other carrier right now with less problems.. Atnt, straight scam.. Never will join them in my life… Tmo, they’re ok, had them but their coverage is going down and then Verizon, they’re ok but charge to much for less. In the end, I’m satisfied. I’m sorry for those people that dish out hundreds of dollars to have fast speeds but can’t use it or have good coverage but sees hidden charges and throttle speeds using “unlimited ” up to 2 gb.. People just need to learn to be more satisfied and take a look at what others are really missing. I’ll trust them until it’s not worth it.

  • Cocoman135

    Razr MaXX

  • Cocoman135

    i wana wait till hasse’s announcement tomo then ill chime in

  • hesse’s baby momma

    Pimp daddy Hesse. Your faves could nevah. You all will deal.

  • Tannylynn

    love this…and totally agree

  • Bill Moran

    I think the desire for there to be blood in the water, is an idea dreamed up by the analysts….as they appear to look for and find every real and imagined glitch in Sprint…..the reality is that Dan and company have done a great job in turning Sprint around and if the analysts weren’t so driven over short term pass/fail, and looked to the bigger, long term picture, they may actually see the value that Dan has added to Sprint.