- Sprint’s morale is up, with discussions of its financial turnaround, excellent customer satisfaction, and positive net adds at the heart of its messages to the analyst community
- While consumer topics took up more air time, Sprint also remains focused on its sweet spots in the SMB and mid-market business segments, looking towards a resurgence in PTT and continued momentum in M2M
The annual Sprint analyst event at the carrier’s headquarters in Kansas was upbeat, as Sprint views that it now has hard proof of its turnaround (beyond third-party customer service accolades) and is looking forward to a future in which net adds continue to grow across all user segments. While it still has a ways to go (and a few years of serious capital expenses to bear) as it continues to build out LTE, Sprint is certainly faring better than it has in recent years. While a good portion of its customer additions are coming from the prepaid segment, it still has a solid core of business customers and prospects, especially among the SMB and mid-market segments. While other carriers have increasingly separate business and consumer sales, marketing and product development organizations, Sprint has now consolidated many of these groups to reach across segments; therefore there was something for everyone at the event.
The areas for the business segment that Sprint highlighted at the event included:
- Applying its sales force more efficiently and intelligently to focus on the “underserved” mid-market with new sales tools, including lead management, effectiveness measurement, and training
- Expanding its distribution to SMBs with Solutions Centers within retail stores and through revamped online educational tools for potential customers about Sprint solutions
- New revenue sources from convergence and cloud solutions, including its UC Collaboration services, its expanded Ethernet presence and a soon to be launched Infrastructure as a Service offer
- A continuation of its Managed Mobility services, which already include Sprint billed TEM/MDM/Mobile Apps through partners and a future BYOD management service in development
- Plans and incentives for migration of the business customers that will be leaving the Nextel iDEN network as it shuts down in mid-2013. In particular, Sprint aims to recapture customers that have defected and add new customers for the high performance CDMA-based Sprint Direct Connect PTT service that is an important part of its Network Vision strategy and includes: much greater coverage than it had on iDEN (3X), set-up and latency performance on par with the iDEN service, new service features, and an updated PTT handset lineup
- A continued focus on M2M (now part of its Wholesale group, although the opportunity has both wholesale and retail customers and revenue streams) with a new “Sweet Spot” strategy focusing on commercial telematics, OEM and aftermarket telematics, remote monitoring and control, and vending/point of sale/digital signage, which are solutions that are intrinsic to the transportation, vehicle manufacturing, insurance, and retail industries
Sprint is still working hard to prove itself to be the strong number three carrier it once was, but there is definitely a sense of optimism throughout the company. The next few years will be crucial ones as Sprint has spent most of the years after the Nextel acquisition retrenching, apologizing, fixing broken service and performance elements, and bringing back its brand credibility and financial strength.