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Dan Hesse Sits Down and Talks Network Vision,the iPhone, Unlimited Data and the Future

Posted In Featured, News - By Mark Hearn On Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 10:14am PST With 23 Comments

Recently Sprint CEO Dan Hesse’s leadership skills have been under fire by investors, customers and critics alike. Many have questioned Sprint’s expensive deal with Apple to carry the iPhone, as well as Sprint’s first 4G venture with WiMAX. The folks from Mobile World Live managed to get some time in with the Now Network’s bossman and we’ve grabbed a few excerpts from their near 11 minute conversation. Check out the play by play action after the break.

Network Vision and Moving From WiMAX

Back in 2009 when we launched the first national 4G in the U.S. there was only for the TDD kinds of frequencies, there was only one kind of 4G available, which was WiMAX. We decided to move first and be a first mover with WiMAX, knowing when the FD spectrum became available that we could add LTE in addition. Actually the Network Vision technology and architecture is perfectly created for multiple frequencies on the same network platform.

Concerns About Being Behind the Competition’s LTE

We think we’ll catch up pretty quickly. One good thing is that we have a large 4G footprint already with WiMAX, as I mentioned we’ll have six major cities in the first half of this year… We intend to be substantially complete with our LTE national rollout by 2013, so we will be playing catch up in 2012, we expect to catch up in the 2013 time frame.

About the iPhone

iPhone sales exceeded our expectations, but what’s particularly unique about Sprint’s number of iPhone sales, is that four out of every ten iPhones we’ve sold is to a new customer. That’s roughly double the rate of either of our competitors, so we’re pulling a lot of customers away from our competitors because of the marriage made in heaven is unlimited plus the iPhone and as a result it’s bringing in a lot of new customers to Sprint and that’s a good thing.

Keeping Unlimited Data

We certainly hope so, my plans are to continue with it as long as we possibly can, hopefully forever. We’ll see, you never say always, you never say never, but I think for some time to come. What’s important to be able to maintain, is to really focus on what it takes to maintain it, the customers have spoken very clearly, I talked on the panel earlier today about our customer satisfaction rankings, how much they’ve increased because of the simplicity and customers really do like unlimited.

For a broader look at what Hesse had to say about Sprint’s future, including his thoughts on wireless carriers merging due to investment demands, visit the source link for the interview in its entirety.

Source: Mobile World Live

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.

  • turdsamich

    I bought my first phone probably 7 years ago with Sprint and at this point unlimited data is probably the only thing preventing me from jumping to Verizon. They really screwed up with WiMax how many more markets are there with WiMax now compared 2009 and look at how much Verizon 4G has grown in the past year and a half.

  • N529sl

    Dan spoke of the iphone as “a marriage made in heaven” in my opinion it was with out a doubt a deal with the devil that will bankrupt Sprint.

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

    Though many have negative opinions about Sprint taking on the iPhone, it was an unavoidable move though. If you happen to think otherwise, look at what Verizon did and they’re the nation’s #1 carrier, even they couldn’t sit on the sidelines.

  • F1

    You are absolutely correct,
    6 out 10 iPhone Customers on SPRINT are “current account holders”, without any doubt, any further delay of carrying iPhone on SPRINT, would have had catastrophic results for SPRINT, that being in terms of continued further bleeding and account losses, instead it has helped, stopping it.

    Furthermore, “UNLIMITED DATA” is the only ACE for SPRINT as it stands currently against VZW and AT&T, otherwise SPRINT would have to close shop, too many significant errors, have taken their toll on SPRINT’s books.

    Thank You

  • cashd00d

    For all those saying Sprint will get rid of unlimited data when LTE rolls out… WE FINALLY HAVE A QUOTE DIRECTLY FROM THE MAN HIMSELF! Sprint will keep unlimited data for as long as possible, and forever if they can.

    So glad to read that.

  • http://twitter.com/WillieFDiazSF William Diaz

    We also had a direct quote from Dan Hesse ON VIDEO that WiMAX and 4G was cheaper to deploy and they could offer more data for less, and that it wouldn’t cost more. We found that the advanced smartphones that were capable of WiMAX had an added $10 Premium Data charge regardless if they were used or purchased in a 4G zone or not. This expanded to ALL smartphones. I have no doubts that Dan will say ANYTHING to keep customers from fleeing right now, when they need them most to finance the buildout by sticking around and paying their bills… To be honest, I know how Dan works, and when he says something, like “At Sprint we dont throttle your data, thats code for slowing you down..” in a commercial, and then I experience speeds that dropped from 2.3mbps to 900kbps to 300kbps to 50-150kbps over the course of my contract, I cant help but think hes a liar. Sorry, but my experience with Dan Hesse as CEO of both AT&T Wireless when I had them, and now of Sprint are not the best. I know to actually think opposite of what he says.
    Fact of the matter is, tiered or throttled data is coming. Sprint is playing around with the T-Mobile pioneer idea of throttled data by implementing it through Virgin Mobile. If thats successful, Sprint will do the same over its 3G CDMA/EVDO network, and likely through WiMAX by the end of the year. As LTE launches and is more stable, they will move that over to LTE as well. Knowing Sprint, they will do this mid-contract for many people, claim its network management (when clearly its a violation of your contract) and then call it a day. I have absolutely no doubts how this company works, especially with Dan Hesse at the helm.

  • http://twitter.com/WillieFDiazSF William Diaz

    Had Sprint been THE launch partner back in iPhone 2007 days, no doubt Sprint could have handled the phone and its data usage. Unfortunately, Sprint launched the phone at a time when Sprint data speeds have never been lower, the network has never been more congested, and surprisingly, Sprint only has about 25Million postpaid CDMA users, thats 8 million less T-Mobile owned users, and T-Mobile doesnt have half the issues. Im just saying, for Sprint to be this bad with so few users on their native network which get priority access over MVNO’s and Prepaid services, they sure must not be doing something right, and the iPhone is only going to hurt.

  • http://twitter.com/WillieFDiazSF William Diaz

    Sprint COULD have done something differently though.
    While T-Mobile does not sell the iPhone, they support it, have tech support for it, and SIM cards for it.
    Sprint COULD have gone the route of MetroPCS and opened up their ESN/MEID system to “ADD” foreign ESN/MEID’s to the network and pulled Verizon customers over, rather than gave Apple $15B for a phone that may not be supported for 4G speeds past Network Vision deployment if at all.

  • http://twitter.com/WillieFDiazSF William Diaz

    The issue with WiMAX isnt that the markets are limited. I understood how WiMAX and its frequency works with Clearwire and Sprint, and I knew it was a filthy investment from the start. I knew there would be holes between markets. I knew it would be much like the days of EDGE on T-Mobile, or EVDO on Sprint and Verizon when there was limited coverage. What I DIDNT expect and I DONT agree with is that Sprint and Clearwire completely abandoned expansion and upkeep in the existing WiMAX areas currently serviced. Neither company has expanded nor strengthened the WiMAX network in any way, and even their own maps show swiss cheese holes all over, many places showing WiMAX existing in fact do not have WiMAX at all. My issue is that while Sprint is playing these games with LTE and EVDO and Network Vision, they could have easily strengthened their extremely large WiMAX user base (yes, MILLIONS are on WiMAX due to Android phones) and would be happy to resign with Sprint and give LTE a try when its available had we have had WiMAX expanded in current markets and strengthened the signal to cover the swiss cheese spots. But people like me, after seeing how poorly we were supported, duped into buying these advanced phones that dont work well, if at all, even in market, we are unlikely to stick around or give LTE a try. I know I wont upgrade with Sprint and will purchase phones outright without contract extensions from now on, and they wont be on LTE until Sprint has the stronger signal of Verizon and AT&T and for that matter T-Mobile in my market (San Francisco, a city Sprint used to GUARANTEE coverage and the highest data speed, just 4 years ago).

  • Tommy Thompson

    How do you figure Sprint has less users than Tmo but is #3, whereas Tmo is #4???

    And since it won’t let me reply to your above post. Allowing the ESN/MEID’s to the network wouldn’t give them near as many subscribers as paying to actually have the phone in the lineup does.

  • cashd00d

    “Fact of the matter is, tiered or throttled data is coming.”

    Got anything to back that up? Thought so.

  • cashd00d

    Number of post-paid wireless customers as of September 2011:
    Sprint Nextel: 32.9 million
    T-Mobile USA: 23.1 million

    Since then, Sprint has added post-paid customers, while T-Mobile has lost post-paid customers.

    Try again.

  • SocialTechFeed

    I 100% agree with you.

  • DollarsnSense

    So William, you’re going to compare ALL of T-mobile’s subscribers versus a handpicked PORTION of Sprint’s subscribers? Wow, it’s easy to spot a weak argument when someone has to resort to such flimsy tactics to try to make a point.

  • Sprint Tech

    I agree with you for the most part Tommy, but I don’t know for sure that allowing non-Sprint ESNs in the system wouldn’t help. While i disagree with all of William Diaz’s posts for the most part, I don’t think he’s entirely wrong. Consider this: Sprint (as well as most, if not all) carriers sell the phone as a loss. It’s no different than Sony selling the PS3 at a loss. The big company makes their money off making the device work. Sprint is no different. The money that Sprint makes is from 2 yr contracts. Remember, each phone is subsidized $150 from Sprint directly, most having instant/mail-in rebates to get them to the $200 price point for new subs. But the phones can cost 599 – 699 for each device.

    That said, I think it would increase operating costs as the systems that we use to communicate/troubleshoot your devices would be fairly useless. That would force Sprint to either waste money training existing reps on new ways to fix issues, or force them to expand the workforce. Either way would not be a good solution to a company operating at a deficit.

    One reply @William Diaz, in regards to the WiMax situation and further expansion, I’m not so sure that Sprint owns any of the WiMax towers. I say that because for troubleshooting purposes I can pinpoint specific towers in an area, as well as performance, throughput, etc, but there has never been any system for tech support to view statistics from any 4g tower. Case in point — let’s say a customer calls me for 4g slow data speeds on a single-mode device, I can’t do much. I can reset the values for the device, and I can run a speed test. I can’t tell you, “Oh, that tower is out of service. We have someone working on it.” I create a help ticket, and an offline ticket worker finds the tower ID and contacts Clearwire. I said all that to say, I think Sprint’s 4G expansion was hurt more by Clearwire’s money troubles.

    One last point: while i abhor the iPhone and I hate taking their calls, it had to be done. I can’t tell you how many calls I used to take with customers asking why we didn’t have the iPhone, were we ever going to get it, etc. Now, I have seen a tremendous spike in iPhone based tech calls since Christmas. Prior to Christmas there was no call volume and the only calls we took were slow data speeds. Since Christmas, call volume has spiked tremendously, and I rarely take slow data calls anymore. Most is basic setup or basic troubleshooting. That makes me think when Sprint updates their #s you will see a substantial rise in iPhone purchases.

  • AyaisMUsikWhore

    You have no proof of this throttling. Just because you happen to be in an area where it’s not the strong, i bet you woke up the next morning and seen it back to normal. Sprint doesn’t throttle and I’ve used almost more than 10gbs of data and yet haven’t seen a slow down… Stop with the bs

  • AyaisMUsikWhore

    Even though I Hate the iPhone, Sprint was very smart in putting the iPhone on their roster to compete. Tmo is losing customers for the lack of the iPhone while vzw and att just keeps getting higher, sprint also the same. At the end of the day, I’ve been hearing alot of people in my area and on the net thinking about switching to sprint for the iphone just for unlimited data, and since iphone users barely use that much data, it really just proves the point the the iphone is working and it’s the reason why they don’t need to change the unlimited to unlimited *, like tmo. In business you have to spend money to make money anyways, and even though it was an expensive deal… They will make it back, trust me… I’m with sprint for the long haul… I have a feeling they will stay on afloat, and might give everyone a run fom their money

  • illegaloperation

    Sprint’s iPhone deal was a stupid move.

    Sprint could have bought boat loads of iPhone 4S for use on its network without making any commitment to Apple.

  • illegaloperation

    Sprint don’t need to make a deal with Apple to carry the iPhone.

    Also, T-Mobile is rolling out HSPA+ on the 1900 Mhz band and LTE on the 1700 Mhz band so T-Mobile’s network will be compatible with whatever phones AT&T have.

    T-Mobile will likely not (officially) carry the iPhone though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gyrune.evony Gyrune Evony

    sprint just changed the towers over to network vision in my area and increased the wimax footprint for it by about 800 yards so i now get 2 bars of wimax outside my house where i had to walk 200 yards up the street to get it before they did the switch over i just hope that the “data speed increase” planned in the next 6 months is telling me that LTE is on the way

  • http://www.facebook.com/gyrune.evony Gyrune Evony

    wimax was cheaper and already approved when they rolled it out and the $10 premion data charge is a far cry from the $30-$90 data charges that AT&T verizon and t-mobile charge and they aren’t unlimited hell if you have a reg phone on verizon they charge you $15 for data charges so a $10 charge for unlimited data on a smart phone is by far the best deal you can get i’ve had t-mobile and verizon and t-mobile says hasp+ 4g is great yeah if you are on flat ground in the middle of no where best download i got with my phone saying 4g was 2mbps and if i went inside my house i would get 2g coverage i was like huh 2G why do you still use 2g for data where is your 3g network they said to me oh we upgraded our 3g to 4g and left 2g alone i was like WHAT?!?!?!?!? with verizon i just think their charges are way to high bare bones plans cost what i can get at sprint for the simply everything plan $110 a typical smart phone plan that is equal to sprints simply everything plan on verizon would cost 189.99 a month and thats with a data cap at 20GB a month and will cost $10 per 1GB over the 20GB don’t get me wrong verizon is great service wise but the cost is my issue with them t-mobile is great cost wise but service sucks sprint is great cost wise and roams on the verizon 3g network i feel that is the best of both worlds that is why i am a sprint customer

  • http://www.facebook.com/crawfordism4life Matthew N. Crawford

    Sprint doesnt throttle data unless you go over a certain limit while ROAMING only. Sprint has just a really bad over-taxed network and Network Vision will eventually fix all that.(hopefully)

    So that already kills your whole working point.

    I rather pay $10 a month for unlimited data than $30 for 2GB. I regularly use between 15-25GB (yes, Gigabytes) of 4G data a month. I have never been throttled. Ever. People complained about the $10 charge, but when you thought of it, it made sense. Sprint pretty much said ‘look, we rather not charge you, but the facts are, this is REALLY expensive and $10 for true all-you-can-eat data isnt a hell of a lot. Please dont hate us’.

    Get over it. Or switch. That is all.

  • Jay20

    what good is unlimited when 3G on Sprint is slower than 2G on T-Mobile or ATT?