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iPhone Factor


Feech
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So I was just thinking about the press release today about the markets that are going to be launched "within months" While most of us already knew most of what was announced, it does seem to be a departure from how Sprint and most carriers operate in most cases. So my question is why? Why would Sprint suddenly change how they normally operate and the answer I think will come on Wed.

 

Everyone is pretty sure that when the new iPhone is announced it will include a LTE radio, and it will sell based on previous years but how can Sprint compete with Verizon and AT&T when they have a jump in LTE markets and add the fact that Sprint made a big gamble on the sales of the iPhone.

 

This is just my opinion but I don't think we can count out the importance of the iPhone release and the direct correlation of the accelaration of Sprints LTE network build out. If Sprint can get customers to hang in there while the network is being put in place by making todays press release, then it would explain alot. Any thoughts?

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The information contained in the Press Release today was no surprise at all. So Sprint hasn't changed anything in their deployment plans for the upcoming iPhone announcement this week. However, I do believe that the timing of the LTE cities PR today was directly related to the new iPhone. I don't think that is a coincidence at all.

 

Robert

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The information contained in the Press Release today was no surprise at all. So Sprint hasn't changed anything in their deployment plans for the upcoming iPhone announcement this week. However' date=' I do believe that the timing of the LTE cities PR today was directly related to the new iPhone. I don't think that is a coincidence at all.

 

Robert[/quote']

 

Agreed. The past week has been filled with new phones and expanded LTE coverage. It's all prefect timing to coincide with the next iPhone.

 

Sent from my LG Viper 4G LTE using Forum Runner

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Agreed. There is no doubt at al that Sprint needs to make a lot of noise, and rush rollout as much as possible to make iPhone 5 buyers feel like they will have all the new phone has to offer with Sprint as their carrier. The importance of iPhone 5 sales for Sprint cant be overstated.

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Look at the LTE ads on the TV lately. Especially the Verizon one where they boast there 300+ markets with LTE... All this PR from the providers absolutely has everything to do with the new iPhone.

 

Sent from my JB iPhone 4S using Forum Runner

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So I was just thinking about the press release today about the markets that are going to be launched "within months" While most of us already knew most of what was announced, it does seem to be a departure from how Sprint and most carriers operate in most cases. So my question is why? Why would Sprint suddenly change how they normally operate and the answer I think will come on Wed.

 

Everyone is pretty sure that when the new iPhone is announced it will include a LTE radio, and it will sell based on previous years but how can Sprint compete with Verizon and AT&T when they have a jump in LTE markets and add the fact that Sprint made a big gamble on the sales of the iPhone.

 

This is just my opinion but I don't think we can count out the importance of the iPhone release and the direct correlation of the accelaration of Sprints LTE network build out. If Sprint can get customers to hang in there while the network is being put in place by making todays press release, then it would explain alot. Any thoughts?

 

But what's the difference between that and Sprint competing with AT&T who has been advertising its iPhone as being on the largest 4G network for quite some time now -- in fact it lights the "4G" icon on the iPhone when data is riding on AT&T's HSPA+ network. That hasn't prevented Sprint from taking significant gross add share among iPhone gross additions. By end of this year (2 1/2 months from now), Sprint's LTE coverage of approximately 120 million pops is not going to be materially different than AT&T's 150 million pops by year-end, albeit both will be substantially behind Verizon's 250 million pops.

 

Plus do you really believe that this is the last announcement that Sprint will make about new markets? You actually can see the deployment schedule market-by-market on this website and keep track of cell site by cell site upgrades that's going on. I doubt that there's going to be a news blackout betweeen now and the end of 2013 from Sprint. Based upon the large inventory of NV activity that have already started in other markets and which are scheduled to continue, would you not expect that the next round of market launches (let's call it 30-50 cities each quarter) that would launch in 1Q 2013 would similarly be announced toward the end of this year (let's say mid-December for example) when the visibility of those launches can be better confirmed, and then again in successive quarters as well.

 

In the mean-time, every Sprint tower site that gets improved back-haul during the NV deployment, whether the LTE is lit up or not, gets dramatically improved 3G, to a reasonable 1.5mbps expereience. Frankly IMO, I simply do not believe that for most applications other than streaming video, the typical consumer is going to notice much difference between a 1.5mbps experience and a 10 mbps experience.

 

Customers who are desperate for LTE today will/should go to Verizon, which then will charge them an arm and a leg for the overage (and yes with faster bandwidth, you will use more to drive higher resolution screeens etc), but for average consumers who may not feel the urgency, they may respond to a different value proposition (from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint) ---- all the better if that means that helps to keep the average usage lower (if Sprint gets less demanding customers) on Sprint's network and will extend the timeline for "truly unlimited" for all of us. From a purely selfish standpoint, I want all the other "power users" desperate for LTE to leave so that I can have more of the network for myself. ;-)

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I think you have missed my point which was I think the iPhone was driving the announcement Sprint made. I may be wrong but when WiMax was rolling out did they ever come out with a definitive list like that one and say these locations will be getting WiMax within months? Maybe but I don't recall it. In fact I can't remember any carrier coming out and making a statement like that about upcoming markets and that many cities at one time whether they are big or small. My point was that the iPhone 5 forced Sprints hand into the announcement, I also think it forced Sprint to stop blocking LTE sites too (that was my interpretation of the memo) Sprint has to sell iPhones bottom line, and they need to be able to compete with Verizon and AT&T. The unlimited data is fine that Sprint offers but to quote the girl in the Sprint store who was pitching a fit about her service "You shouldn't call it the Now Network, call it the Never when I need it network" according to her the data on the beaches was crawling and multiple service outages recently. People churning off of AT&T and Verizon to get unlimited data are going to be expecting speeds similar to what they had.

 

And if you think the typical consumer is not going to see the difference between 1.5 and 10mbps your mistaken. Its the difference between night and day not just with video, but mobile gaming, and music streaming.

 

Bottom line pre-orders for the iPhone is in 2 days and how many cities will Sprint have LTE speeds in when the phone ships? This isn't a rant but a observation. I think that we will see more communication like what we got this week to let people know Sprint LTE is coming, and I also think that we may see a uptick in sites completed.

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Feech, you are correct that I probably misinterpreted your post as implying that Sprint can't compete effectively against the other LTE carriers. I don't doubt that competition and highlighting of LTE as a competitive value proposition is driving Sprint's messaging, whether it's because of the iPhone, or it's simply a response to Verizon's ads and even Metro PCS talking about its LTE network as the "fastest network technology". The fact of the matter is that Sprint would love to rebuild its NV network as fast as its OEM's can deploy, but alas is dependent upon those OEM's to execute.

 

Clearly the announcement of the additional "100 cities" was a marketing driven PR initiative. But it couldn't happen unless there were a substantial number of markets that it could "count" on to be launched, and I believe the 100 was a nice "round number" of cities that could qualify for the message (whether it was 98 or 109, the 100 would be a sound number). I don't know whether it's because of the iPhone per se, but I believe that the SPrint would have had to announce its near term launches in any case as its cumulative installed base of LTE-capable devices grew large enough where it had customers constantly asking "when will we get LTE in our market"? But I do believe that Verizon pounding the table on its LTE coverage head start it its marketing probably also lit a fire under Sprint's marketing department to counter that message.

 

I think the relative gross add market share will not be much different than last year's 4Q -- recognize that AT&T no longer has its low-cost advantage 3GS (free on contract) as each of Verizon and Sprint now enjoy parity of product line range with both the iPhone 4 and 4S in addition to the iPhone 5. While many people will be focused on the iPhone 5, the IPhone sales reported by the carriers actually include the whole product range of iPhones, and their subsidies on the lower end are actually less than on the newest generation iPhone.

 

Last I recall average data usage was less than 300mb per month per sub and if you believe AT&T and VErizon, 98% of users were less than 2 GB. I doubt that the "typical" consumer that's using less than 300mb (remember that's the "mean", so many more are less than that if some are skewed above 2GB) per month is doing any streaming or interactive mobile gaming. Words with Friends doesn't improve with 10 mbps. My main point was that the user experience difference between 500kbps and 1.5mps is pretty noticeable while only high bandwidth intensive applications will differentiate the higher speeds and the "typical" consumer may not be using as many of those apps as power users (as evidenced by the usage stats that describe the "average" smartphone user while mobile).

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