Sprint Nextel said poor execution by its network vendor partners in the latter part of 2012 was part of what caused it to delay LTE deployments and its larger Network Vision network modernization plan, according to a securities filing.
Sprint Nextel's announcement last week that it had inked a deal with module provider u-blox to be Sprint's preferred module provider for its 2G (1xRTT) CDMA network caught my attention for a few reasons, mainly because it's clearly designed at winning away machine-to-machine business from AT&T Mobility, which plans on shutting down its 2G network by 2017. I think Sprint can steal some of this business, and even though the customers and connections are low-bandwidth and provide low average revenue per user.
Sprint Nextel said it is now offering Sprint Data Link and Static IP networking services for businesses and government agencies over its LTE network. The services were previously restricted to the carrier's 3G CDMA network.
Sprint Nextel is squarely focused on driving its Network Vision network modernization project, which includes the rollout of LTE network technology, and is not letting Dish Network and SoftBank's competing bids for the company affect the effort, according to Sprint CFO Joe Eueteneuer.
Sprint Nextel is shifting its focus to the future and its CDMA and LTE networks as it nears the shutdown of its Nextel iDEN network, scheduled for the middle of the year. As it has in the past several quarters, the company reported relatively strong metrics for its "Sprint platform" (CDMA and LTE) while losing subscribers from its legacy Nextel (iDEN) network.
As questions swirl about whether Dish Network or Japan's SoftBank will control Sprint Nextel, Sprint heads into its first-quarter earnings report with the focus on more mundane matters: how many postpaid subscribers it gained or lost, how many Apple iPhones it activated in the period, and how far along it is in deploying its LTE network.
Sprint Nextel, in the midst of extricating itself from its legacy iDEN Nextel business, posted a net subscriber loss of 337,000 wireless customers in the fourth quarter. The carrier also reduced its LTE buildout plans for 2013.
Sprint Nextel has been launching five to 10 LTE markets a month since last summer and is on track to initiate launches even more quickly in 2013, according to internal correspondence.
Japanese operator Softbank expects to almost double Sprint Nextel's wireless margins over time and will also likely increase capital expenditures at the carrier this year following the completion of Softbank's $20.1 billion deal to acquire 70 percent of Sprint, according to a financial analyst.
Sprint Nextel and Dish Network, which are battling each other at the FCC over technical issues related to Dish's satellite spectrum, held talks recently on the possibility of Sprint hosting Dish's spectrum on its network, according to a Bloomberg report.