Sprint Reveals “Disruptive” Business Strategy, but Does It Differ from Competitors?

Kathryn Weldon
Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • After its acquisition by SoftBank, Sprint had been pretty quiet regarding its business services and strategies.
  • It’s questionable how different Sprint’s new sales and marketing organization, and new approach to business services is from competing operators.

In a recent briefing to the analyst community, Sprint opened up about its plans for the business market. It has had a new B2B team since fall 2013, which includes corporate liable sales of embedded products, cards, handsets, tablets, M2M, as well as business-focused wireless and cloud services. It also divides the Fortune 1000 regionally into Eastern and Western U.S. companies. Sprint’s aim is to be disruptive: it used to sell based on technology and “speeds and feeds”, but found that this approach didn’t work and now is selling solutions instead. The company conducted focus groups to find out what keeps CIOs up at night; it came up with three key issues and their associated solutions. Continue reading “Sprint Reveals “Disruptive” Business Strategy, but Does It Differ from Competitors?”

Softbank’s Sprint Acquisition: Making Wireline and Dot-Com Sense of the Deal

Brian Washburn
Brian Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Softbank is not just a telecom company; it is a major dot-com investor.  It may be able to use Sprint’s base as an audience to promote other holdings.
  • In-country holdings in Japan and the U.S. could attract new enterprise business.  However, the U.S. government may have wireline contract concerns over Sprint’s foreign ownership.

On October 15, 2012, Softbank announced its intent to acquire a majority stake in Sprint.  Softbank’s focus for the acquisition is of course mobility, just as Sprint itself has mobile at the forefront of its service portfolio.  Softbank operates both wireline and wireless networks in Japan, inherited through acquisitions of Japan Telecom, Vodafone, Willcom, and eAccess.  In the U.S., some people will better remember Softbank as a major investor in speculative Internet ventures, particularly cutting-edge digital properties that led the dot-com explosion of the late 1990s, and the following bust.  Today, Softbank remains a big speculative dot-com investor, and it has stakes in many dozens of companies.  Some names include Internet/TV company Boxee, social gaming developer Zynga, personalized gaming application GameGround, virtual desktop hosting company Desktone, and the AOL-acquired news site Huffington Post.  In its acquisition of Sprint, Softbank contributes a broad investment portfolio of dot-com properties that could use Sprint’s customer base as a target audience to promote its mobile games, apps, and content. Continue reading “Softbank’s Sprint Acquisition: Making Wireline and Dot-Com Sense of the Deal”

Live from the Sprint Analyst Event

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • 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. Continue reading “Live from the Sprint Analyst Event”