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Wireless Week Interview with ex-CEO of Sprint, Dan Hesse


Arysyn
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Here is the video interview :

http://www.wirelessweek.com/videos/2015/05/tuesdays-roger-dan-hesse-talks-simplicity-wireless-plans

 

Roger Entner, who also was being interviewed, seems to think unlimited data not only will stick around, but will be back in use by other carriers, as he seems to think consumers are going to demand more simplicity in wanting unlimited as their choice for it. Dan Hesse also talked about the importance of simplicity in wireless, which is much needed in all the carriers, as while they claim simplicity in their rate plans, none of them really are.

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I never noticed how little data I typically used until I switched to unlimited on Sprint. I think Hesse makes a really great point about unlimited, but that's not the entirety of the value proposition.

 

On T-Mobile, at $80 a month, I was making sure to use as much data as I possibly could because I wanted to tap the full 'value' of my plan. I felt like if I didn't use tons of data, I wasted $. It wasn't 'forget about caps', it felt like a challenge to use as much data as possible. On Cricket at $35 a month, I was using my phone as little as possible, there was almost no point in having data. On MetroPCS unlimited I was at a good price point, but was SoL when it came to getting a new phone. I think Sprint really has hit the sweet spot at $60 for unlimited on individual plans, where people aren't going to feel bad about not using tons of data, or about adding a new phone to their plan (especially with leasing, $75 for a brand new iPhone and uncapped data is just a remarkably easy to swallow pill I think).

 

Hesse seems like he was a smart guy. He was around before I joined Sprint, but looking back at articles, he seemed like a decent CEO, just maybe a little too ambitious.

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Hesse *saved* sprint from financial demise, convinced investors to fund NV, and orchestrated the sale to Softbank, one of the richest sugardaddy's we could ever ask for. He is more than a -decent- ceo

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Hesse *saved* sprint from financial demise, convinced investors to fund NV, and orchestrated the sale to Softbank, one of the richest sugardaddy's we could ever ask for. He is more than a -decent- ceo

I do appreciate what he's done, although I do wish his marketing was a little bit more aggressive.  He didn't seem to respond to the T-Mobile Uncarrier promotions as well as Marcelo has been.  

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I think the $60 price point for unlimited without tethering is a good price point, though if it were up to me, I'd lower the IPhone Unlimited Leasing Price to $45 Monthly, and have that price be affective for both Iphone, Android, and Windows devices (if Sprint ever decides to have Windows devices) on either lease or easy pay, as a method to get people to upgrade their devices often.

 

T-Mobile's unlimited rate of $80 Monthly is unfair towards individuals, especially considering their two-line unlimited rate is only $20 more per month. So, I definitely understand why subscribers on their individual unlimited plan would want to use a lot more data on it. T-Mobile use to have a lower rate for it, then decided to increase it when they added the free international roaming, which many people never use, along with the limited amount of tethering included. I think T-Mobile ought to have something like a $55 monthly individual unlimited plan without those other features.

 

Anyways, Sprint is smart how they are adding features while keeping the value in their plans. With this interview in mind, is some assurance to me, at least, Sprint may be keeping unlimited around longer, as I doubt Marcelo is going to go the complete opposite thinking of his predecessor on the rate plans, despite getting rid of Framily.

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I do appreciate what he's done, although I do wish his marketing was a little bit more aggressive.  He didn't seem to respond to the T-Mobile Uncarrier promotions as well as Marcelo has been.  

 

Hesse's 7 year tenure saw lots of marketing strategies, different marketing firms, etc. 

 

Like the larger two, many in the industry, and plenty of us here back when, Hesse didn't expect Tmobile's device financing and uncarrier marketing to *sustain* the growth that it has. It really didn't represent much of a discount for the average consumer.  It just shuffled around the way that the cost is perceived.  While we can knock him for not realizing how influential it would become, also remember that he negotiated and rubber stamped a buyout of Metro PCS that the board of directors at Sprint refused. I've no doubt he realized the other potential suitor was Tmobile.  As we've read about,  after softbank initially took over, Sprint still operated slow and meticulously as its board of directors had required.  I'm glad a fresh, young CEO was brought in too... Just don't forget that Son also approved Framily and the marketing that went with it. 

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Hesse *saved* sprint from financial demise, convinced investors to fund NV, and orchestrated the sale to Softbank, one of the richest sugardaddy's we could ever ask for. He is more than a -decent- ceo

 

This. He cleaned up the mess that Gary Forsee left while dealing with an often hostile board of directors. I just wish the Metro PCS buyout would have happened (and I don't blame Hesse for it not happening).

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This. He cleaned up the mess that Gary Forsee left while dealing with an often hostile board of directors. I just wish the Metro PCS buyout would have happened (and I don't blame Hesse for it not happening).

 

Yes, can't blame him. It was a hard sell at the time because it created more debt for Sprint, increased the network modernization tasks at hand, brought yet another prepaid sub-brand into the fold, and Sprint really didn't *need* the spectrum it would have brought.  You have to go with Hesse's realization that allowing MetroPCS to go to anyone else, specifically its closest competitor, strengthened the competitor more than it harmed Sprint. 

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Yes, can't blame him. It was a hard sell at the time because it created more debt for Sprint, increased the network modernization tasks at hand, brought yet another prepaid sub-brand into the fold, and Sprint really didn't *need* the spectrum it would have brought.  You have to go with Hesse's realization that allowing MetroPCS to go to anyone else, specifically its closest competitor, strengthened the competitor more than it harmed Sprint. 

 

Certainly it was a hard sell and it certainly would have been more work on the network side (as an S4GRU addict I would have loved to see all those details). I think with the Prepaids only two would have stayed with the third either being merged out right or spun off. They could always use more spectrum even if they really didn't need it (off topic, but is there any good listing of MetroPCS's spectrum holdings at the time of the merger?). The merger certainly strengthened T-Mobile, probably more so than it would have the other 2.

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Seeing as MetroPCS was regional, it would have given certain markets a huge advantage over other markets without that MetroPCS spectrum. This differs from the US Cellular market specific purchase by Sprint, where it brought the Midwest region up to par, not a huge advantage situation as MetroPCS would have done. Perhaps the Sprint board didn't want their to be such huge spectrum differences in their network, whereas T-Mobile has a different outlook about it not caring if certain areas are two to three or more times the spectrum advantage over others.

 

Of course, for so much opposition towards the purchase of MetroPCS, there must have been other reasons they had in choosing to go against Dan Hesse on.

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Sprint may be keeping unlimited around longer, as I doubt Marcelo is going to go the complete opposite thinking of his predecessor on the rate plans, despite getting rid of Framily.

 

Huh? You doubt Marcelo will change Hesse's unlimited . . .  except he did get rid of Hesse's framily.

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Huh? You doubt Marcelo will change Hesse's unlimited . . .  except he did get rid of Hesse's framily.

 

There's no doubt that Unlimited will eventually go away. However, Unlimited is a huge selling point for people and if Sprint were to scrap Unlimited, we'd see millions of customers jump straight over to T-Mobile. Marcelo is a smart man and he's not willing to risk getting rid of Unlimited data plans anytime soon.

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Huh? You doubt Marcelo will change Hesse's unlimited . . . except he did get rid of Hesse's framily.

Framily wasn't an ordinary unlimited plan in the style of the other Sprint unlimited plans. Framily was a complex plan that involved an effort for people to save money by having to sell other people onto the plan, in order to get a discount. What Marcelo did was essentially taking Hesse's Simply Everything, lowering its price and calling it unlimited for $60. While it is more expensive than the lowest cost Framily, it is less expensive than Framily for the first few lines.

 

I think Sprint ought to bring the price down further to $45 Monthly, for those who choose to lease their devices, or choose Easy Pay. They could have that as the rate for the first line to get at least one line on the account upgrading regularly, in order to keep that lower rate, then allow additional lines at $45 monthly each, regardless of device payment, then scrap away all of the other plans, or alternatively offer a Google Fi-style flat rate program without the complicated plan tiers which consumers spend so much time trying to figure out which tier works best to them while avoiding costly overages.

 

Such a plan could be $30 for the first line, $15 each additional line, $5 per GB flat rate. Although I personally don't like shared data plans, this idea might work out well, especially for those who don't use much data.

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There's no doubt that Unlimited will eventually go away. However, Unlimited is a huge selling point for people and if Sprint were to scrap Unlimited, we'd see millions of customers jump straight over to T-Mobile. Marcelo is a smart man and he's not willing to risk getting rid of Unlimited data plans anytime soon.

I doubt Sprint would get rid of unlimited prior to T-Mobile doing so, unless Marcelo is willing to drastically lower the per GB rate of data plans from their current $6 to $10 per GB rate average down to around $2 to $3 per GB.

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Put it this way...Sprint has had unlimited data forever and everyone in the US knows it but yet Sprint has been struggling the last few quarters despite this even though its been slowly improving.  Marcelo knows that the Sprint LTE network is far from complete and is not yet ready to compete with the big 2.  As long as Sprint has the capacity to support unlimited I don't see them taking it away especially with the addition of small cells and densification of the 2.5 GHz network.

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Put it this way...Sprint has had unlimited data forever and everyone in the US knows it but yet Sprint has been struggling the last few quarters despite this even though its been slowly improving.  Marcelo knows that the Sprint LTE network is far from complete and is not yet ready to compete with the big 2.  As long as Sprint has the capacity to support unlimited I don't see them taking it away especially with the addition of small cells and densification of the 2.5 GHz network.

 

 

Well, there is the new article with Marcelo saying that unlimited will go away, though I definitely don't think it will while the conditions you mentioned still are the way they are, or until T-Mobile gets rid of it first. As long as T-Mobile has it, Sprint would be making an unwise decision to get rid of it prior to T-Mobile.

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Seeing as MetroPCS was regional, it would have given certain markets a huge advantage over other markets without that MetroPCS spectrum. This differs from the US Cellular market specific purchase by Sprint, where it brought the Midwest region up to par, not a huge advantage situation as MetroPCS would have done. Perhaps the Sprint board didn't want their to be such huge spectrum differences in their network, whereas T-Mobile has a different outlook about it not caring if certain areas are two to three or more times the spectrum advantage over others.

 

Of course, for so much opposition towards the purchase of MetroPCS, there must have been other reasons they had in choosing to go against Dan Hesse on.

 

Metro would have plugged in some major holes in Sprint's PCS holdings. Places like Florida, Dallas, San Fran, etc. Leap would have added to the spectrum trove. Leaps CDMA network in some places like Houston or Austin was actually better than Sprints. In Florida, Metro's was actually better than Sprint's. Together they would have allowed Sprint to horsetrade AWS spectrum for PCS. Plus bring in about 13M more customers. 

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Metro would have plugged in some major holes in Sprint's PCS holdings. Places like Florida, Dallas, San Fran, etc. Leap would have added to the spectrum trove. Leaps CDMA network in some places like Houston or Austin was actually better than Sprints. In Florida, Metro's was actually better than Sprint's. Together they would have allowed Sprint to horsetrade AWS spectrum for PCS. Plus bring in about 13M more customers. 

 

And many of those markets could've deployed a 2nd PCS LTE carrier quite rapidly if they had acquired MetroPCS too and considerably slowed down T-mobiles momentum somewhat as they would have had to negotiate to get the AWS spectrum...

 

ahh so many what ifs....

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Metro would have plugged in some major holes in Sprint's PCS holdings. Places like Florida, Dallas, San Fran, etc. Leap would have added to the spectrum trove. Leaps CDMA network in some places like Houston or Austin was actually better than Sprints. In Florida, Metro's was actually better than Sprint's. Together they would have allowed Sprint to horsetrade AWS spectrum for PCS. Plus bring in about 13M more customers. 

 

 

And many of those markets could've deployed a 2nd PCS LTE carrier quite rapidly if they had acquired MetroPCS too and considerably slowed down T-mobiles momentum somewhat as they would have had to negotiate to get the AWS spectrum...

 

ahh so many what ifs....

 

 

That sounds fair. I was thinking more about spectrum earlier and overlooked the tower situation in those areas. Even though I've stated ideas as to what the Sprint board was thinking at the time, I'm even more curious about it now. Did they give any other reasons for going against the idea than feasibility? I'm trying to imagine why a board would go against their CEO about something that considering the pros of this altogether, just doesn't make sense. I know I try to make sense of things that often are senseless much of the time, because of how I try to see things reasonably. They certainly did lose momentum to T-Mobile though because of it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Framily wasn't an ordinary unlimited plan in the style of the other Sprint unlimited plans. Framily was a complex plan that involved an effort for people to save money by having to sell other people onto the plan, in order to get a discount. What Marcelo did was essentially taking Hesse's Simply Everything, lowering its price and calling it unlimited for $60. While it is more expensive than the lowest cost Framily, it is less expensive than Framily for the first few lines.

 

I think Sprint ought to bring the price down further to $45 Monthly, for those who choose to lease their devices, or choose Easy Pay. They could have that as the rate for the first line to get at least one line on the account upgrading regularly, in order to keep that lower rate, then allow additional lines at $45 monthly each, regardless of device payment, then scrap away all of the other plans, or alternatively offer a Google Fi-style flat rate program without the complicated plan tiers which consumers spend so much time trying to figure out which tier works best to them while avoiding costly overages.

 

Such a plan could be $30 for the first line, $15 each additional line, $5 per GB flat rate. Although I personally don't like shared data plans, this idea might work out well, especially for those who don't use much data.

You know the Best Buy One Plan, a BestBuy exclusive is $45 Unlimited Everything, plus $20 for leasing. Which makes the plan $65 for Unlimited Everything plus a new iPhone every two years "that's if you're into iPhones". I'm on it now and I love it! 55a6fb43949adbd9bf02d895d5e81f16.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Leasing is ok if you don't mind giving your old phone back (and in good condition).

 

Sucks if you want to keep or pass (or sell) your phone along to someone else, or if your phone is in poor condition (cracked/scratched etc).

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Leasing is ok if you don't mind giving your old phone back (and in good condition).

 

Sucks if you want to keep or pass (or sell) your phone along to someone else, or if your phone is in poor condition (cracked/scratched etc).

 

The Robert M. Herron Museum of Modern Cellphones finds the idea of leasing and returning historic devices to be abhorrent.

 

AJ

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