As Verizon iPhone Launches, Sprint Focuses on Devices, Service, Offers
Sprint announced record churn lows during its fourth quarter and plans to woo customers with great offers as it braces for the effects of Verizon's iPhone 4.What do you do when not one but two major competitors offer an Apple iPhone? Hold on tight to the customers you have.
That will be Sprint's plan, CEO Dan Hesse said during a Feb. 10 conference call to announce the carrier's fourth-quarter 2010 earnings, on the morning that Verizon Wireless officially began offering its long-awaited CDMA version of the iPhone 4.
"We haven't said yet what we will do ... but part of the project is the ability to put LTE - should we decide to do so - on our network," said Hesse. "We're still in the process of determining what we want to do, in terms of 4G and deployment. But part of that is definitely looking at WiMAX versus LTE. We do have the capability... and we do have the spectrum to put LTE on our own spectrum, should we decide to do it." He added that a decision will be reached, and Sprint's investor community alerted, very likely before the middle of the year. Verizon executives, during their Jan. 25 fourth-quarter earnings call, backpedaled a bit on the decision to pair their iPhone with an unlimited plan, and announced that, like AT&T, they planned to offer tiered pricing. Sprint's Hesse, during his call, shared that for now Sprint plans to continue offering its unlimited data plan - explaining that there's a cost-efficiency in a flat-rate plan, as there are costs to the carrier associated with more complex pricing - though it might reconsider this in the future. "Simplicity is very, very important for a lot of reasons," Hesse explained. "Secondly, as you add in more tiers, there's the potential of dilution, where people will move down to lower ARPU levels ... We like the simplicity and value that we currently offer. But given the usage characteristics and the changes that are taking place at a fairly rapid rate ... we may make a change sometime in the future."