Posts Tagged ‘Sprint’
Samsung announced that it will be launching an Andriod based, touchscreen phone in partnership with Sprint and T-Mobile later this year. While the details are still sketchy, the phone will include Google Maps, G-Talk messenger, G-Mail and Google Search. Also unclear is the launch date and pricing. Though Samsung has said that they were accelerating their development efforts to meet the carriers needs.
In a seperate annoucement, Sony Ericsson said that it is changing its strategy this year and focusing on high-end smartphone including an Android-based device. It has put its idea of developing cheap phones for the emerging markets on hold. Consequently, it does not expect to be profitable this year. While SE has not committed to delivering an Android based device this year, it is expected that the device will come this year given that SE has joined the Open Handset Alliance and has voiced its support for the OS.
HTC has always had a stellar lineup in the years past and this year is no exception, according to the leaked images. There are 25 devices in all including second Android based device called Hero, updates to existing devices like Touch Diamond and Diamond Pro and some new devices. Some of them are going to make it to the 4 US carriers. Here is the list:
[Via Boy Genius Report]
Sprint today reported its Q3 numbers and they were horrendous. It lost 1.3 customers during the quarter which reduced its revenue from $10.04 billion a year ago to $8.81 billion this quarter. This resulted in a quarterly loss of $342 million or 11 cents a share.
Sprint has been losing customers, almost a million every quarter for the last 3 quarters. At this rate, it is going to run out of money soon. Then the question arises as to what happens to it. It has tried selling its iDEN (legacy) network which has gone no where due to lack of buyer interest. Its investments in WiMAX has a while to go before they can pay off.
Sprint did take steps to reduce bankruptcy concerns for now by paying down some of its credit facility and increasing interest that it will pay on its new debt. However, that just buys its some breathing space for now. Falling ARPU down to $56 and shrinking customer base does not bode well for Sprint. With its burn rate of $7.8 billion a quarter and $4.1 billion in cash balance at the end of the quarter, it will end up using all of its $1 billion free cash flow in coming months. I think it is a matter of time and another shoe to fall before Sprint becomes an acquisition target or fails.
[Via New York Times]
Cox Communications, yesterday announced that it will launch an MVNO 3G network based on the Sprint’s EV-DO Rev A network. Today, Cable Digital News interviewed Stephen Bye, Cox’s Vice President of Wireless. In the interview, it became clear that Cox has designs beyond just becoming an MVNO. It is planning on integrating its wireless offering with its traditional cable offerings.
However, Cox has much larger plans. It is working on developing its own 3G network based off of Sprint’s network and promises seamless customer experience across both networks. In parallel, it is also developing its own customer service, back office, product integration, branding, supported devices, packaging, and product plans.
That is just for a start. Cox is eyeing the coming LTE transition and wants to position itself for it. It already has the AWS license that it acquired in 2006 and also the 700MHz license that it won in a recent auction. It plans to leverage these spectrum licenses as part of the LTE field trials which Bye says will start in 2009.
It is clear from Bye’s interview that Cox has decided that its future is in wireless. According to Bye,
Clearly wireless voice is important today and will be important in the future. We think there’s a new frontier… which is mobile data services and being able to take that broadband experience out of the home and take it with you
Considering it is the third cable provider behind Comcast and Time Warner, Cox may have decided that they might not want to be in the cable business. They see opportunity in the wireless business and when mobile TV takes off, they see themselves in an ideal position to leverage their cable expertise in that arena too.
Yesterday, AT&T announced some stellar performance numbers for the 3rd quarter 2008 led by growth in Apple’s iPhone 3G products. AT&T activiated 2.4 million iPhones during the quarter and their wireless data revenue grew to $2.7 billion. More recently, Apple also announced a great quarter with record sales of 6.9 million iPhones during the quarter. However, the future is very uncertain.
The end of last quarter saw the beginning of the economic downturn. We have already seen the effects of the downturn on Nokia which said its Q3 revenue fell by 7% from previous quarter. Sony Ericsson has also been affected by the downturn with their sales down 10% over previous quarter and profits down 1% over last quarter. No one knows how long it is going to last. As such all three companies mentioned above have lowered their forecast for the next quarter and the new year. That was expected, that is not the big story.
The bigger story is the profit squeeze that the Mobile sector is facing. Take for example AT&T which is considered the bellweather for this sector. As I mentioned earlier, its revenue grew impressively. However, it had to subsidize the iPhones heavily, to the tune of $900 million in the quarter which amounts to a 10¢ reduction in its earnings per share. Clearly, AT&T has to subsidize the iPhones to stay competitive with RIM Blackberry, T-Mobile’s G1 and Microsoft Windows Mobile based phones with various carriers including AT&T. However, it is going to get worse going forward as consumers reduce their spending and shun expensive plans. There is a danger that consumers might shun smartphones all together. As Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett said to BusinessWeek:
you wonder whether the iPhone runs any risk of tilting from being the next cool gadget to suddenly being a symbol of excess.
I have a feeling that not just iPhones, but other smartphones will end up looking like “symbol of excess”. If that happens, RIM will probably be affected the most. Unfortunately for RIM, its Blackberry Storm and Blackberry Bold launches are coming in the first quarter after the major financial crisis and as US heads into a recession. Whether RIM will see the same bounce in sales as Apple did, remains to be seen.
All carriers will see further worsening of their ARPU during Q4 2008, according to the IE Market Research Corp.’s 4Q 2008 United States Mobile Operator Forecast, 2008 – 2010 report. In Q208, the ARPU declined by 1.7% across all carriers. However, Sprint and T-Mobile will be more adversely affected as it takes them longer to get a return on their their investments in WiMax and 3G respectively.
It appears that Best Buy is preparing for a slew of phones to be launched in late October through Mid November according to Boy Genius Report. They are still showing the Blackberry Bold to be launched by AT&T sometime in October, though the exact date is unknown. Best Buy will have the HTC Touch Pro on the Sprint Network on October 26th alongwith the Blackberry Pearl Flip on the T-Mobile network. However, the biggest news has to be that they will have the Blackberry Storm on the Verizon Wireless network on November 16th, just 10 days before the holiday shopping season officially starts. This gives good credence to the phone itself launching on the Verizon Network in November before launch at Best Buy. However, I think that Verizon Wireless might launch before November 7th, maybe even October 30st (launch party in NYC) or November 1st.