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jebr

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Everything posted by jebr

  1. The problem is, if you don't have the revenue to support building out the network, you can't really build out the network. If you can add more people to the network, even at a reduced cost, that's still more money for capex. This is especially true if you can add them places where you have existing excess capacity - then their network hit is minimal to existing customers while allowing coverage to be expanded or densified elsewhere. Promotions help to draw more people in, ideally getting them to stay long-term (and, in a perfect world, convert them to customers who will pay full rack rate for the service.) That said, there's certainly a balance to be had on the promotions. The one year free seemed like a particularly poor choice - you seek out the deal seekers without getting any particular sticking point for them to stay once the year is up. Since it's BYOD, people can easily switch away once that free year is up. The other promos (Kickstart and the initial promo rates on regular plans) are better promos in different ways. Kickstart is good because it provides a consistent source of revenue ($15-$25 plus tax per month) while being extremely inexpensive to deliver. Sure, you're not getting a ton of money each month, but you're still getting some, and you don't have to pay for phone leases or store support (at least with the first few iterations.) I believe you can kick them down into deprioritization when traffic is high to help preserve the experience for customers paying full price. Ideally, these customers would be ones that need little to no support, manage their own devices, and simply keep the auto-pay going every month for their service. The promo rates are decent because there's ideally going to be a tie-in that keeps them in longer-term (phone leases, ideally) while still giving them that first-year savings that can convince them to switch. They're also used to paying something for the service, so jumping from $100 to $140 for 4 lines is more stomachable than jumping from $0 to that same $140. It's the same model that cable companies use, though there they have the benefit of less competition as well.
  2. At the end of the consolidation/merger process (which will likely take a few years) the T-Mobile network will become the only network, with its infrastructure and backbone being used. T-Mobile will add their equipment to select sites where Sprint has better locations and fills in gaps, and they'll use Sprint's bands on their equipment as they're able. However, the Sprint network will eventually be sunsetted, with all customers being on the T-Mobile network.
  3. It's treated much like Sprint's extended roaming partners like USCC, though it may be subject to a 5Mbps speed cap (I don't remember for sure, but I don't recall going over 5Mbps when I was roaming on Viaero last summer when I had T-Mobile.)
  4. Why won't Sprint gain more customers with "all that roaming?" They'll almost certainly go broke if they try to duplicate completely AT&T's coverage, much less Verizon's coverage. This is especially true now that T-Mobile is trying to fight in that same space. Does Sprint need to cover more places natively/roam-like-native than they do today? Sure. But there's certainly enough people who don't need like-native coverage next to every forest and prairie with no people for miles around that Sprint could cater to. Sprint just needs to expand their network to the point where most (90% or so?) people are covered where they live, work, and spend most of their time outside of home/work, let roaming coverage offer essential connectivity when they're well off the beaten path, and let the other three carriers fight for the 10% of customers who wouldn't be well-covered by Sprint's network.
  5. Native roaming is still roaming. I'm not sure why Sprint "needs" two million square miles of native coverage if they can start signing agreements that allow roam-like-native or at least roam-with-okay-service in rural areas. Call/text is fine (as far as I'm aware) in roaming areas, so it's only data that really needs to be negotiated on some sort of reasonable playing field with AT&T and VZW. That'll be difficult, but it's not impossible that they'll be able to get something in place. I think writing off roaming as an option in rural areas that aren't near major highways rules out a quite viable solution to fill in those gaps that a budget carrier like Sprint simply can't justify competing in natively. Ideally, that roaming would offer usable data speeds (1.5Mb would be a minimum qualification for "usable," in my opinion.) However, if Sprint can build a solid core network that covers most people where they are most of the time, people can probably put up with a less-than-stellar experience the 1% of the time they're in an extremely rural area. I'd much rather see investment in making the core network strong, covering urban and suburban areas well and the travel corridors that connect them. Targeted investment in known frequent roaming areas is also fine; if there's a place where a lot of people visit cover that well even if it's extremely rural. But there should also be some savings by not covering every square inch, which can be passed along to the customers in the form of a lower rate. Let AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile battle it out for those who need native rural coverage, and let Sprint differentiate themselves with a value price that offers a solid network experience most places but is okay with relying on roaming for the last 1-2% of the time when people are away from the highly-populated/traveled/visited areas.
  6. People don't like roaming if the experience is terrible when they're roaming. A lot of Sprint's roaming is terrible when it comes to data (1x speeds.) However, if the experience is seamless, people really don't care too much, or at least I can't imagine why people would. When I'm roaming on US Cellular, my data works beautifully and it feels like native service. I honestly don't care if I'm on Sprint or USCC roaming, because both experiences feel the same. Most people don't care about the technical side of how their phone service works; they just want it to work. Roaming in extremely rural areas makes sense, especially for a budget carrier. There's not enough money to be made to invest in towers absolutely everywhere. However, that experience should feel similar to on-network usage, at least for a limited usage timeframe/usage amount. If that was the case everywhere, then most people would be fine with a little roaming here and there, especially if the cost savings were decent or the on-network experience was better than the other carriers.
  7. I think the general rule is the majority of usage must be on native network. That being said, if there was an Airave at home and they used that most of the time, you'd probably be okay as long as they're not pushing multiple gigabytes over the USCC network.
  8. What would be "not slacking" on rural coverage? I don't disagree that Sprint should have coverage along rural highways and in some of the populated towns in the area, but it seems foolish for Sprint to go crazy on adding towers in small towns off the beaten path. Better to be the value carrier and utilize roaming agreements for the people that don't live in those areas but may need coverage a couple times a year. Sprint has a ways to go to have all the major roads covered, but that should be their focus, not just trying to push up square miles covered for the sake of covering them.
  9. I don't see Sprint, even within the next 5 years, being a true "serious player" to Verizon, especially in rural markets. The cost to do so would be immense, likely for relatively little gain in the short-to-medium term. In my view, Sprint's competitive path forward is to try and morph their network into the "value carrier" network. With T-Mobile's huge capex over the next few years on the 600MHz side, rates will likely have to go up to make the network profitable. If Sprint can focus their capex on densifying and making truly solid their urban/suburban network, ensure the highways between them are adequately covered, and keep strong roaming agreements to cover those remote locations that are well off the beaten path (enforcing roaming limitations as needed to ensure that it's not a huge cost sink,) I think Sprint can find a distinct path as the value carrier that will give you an inexpensive price compared to the other three but with a solid network where you need it most and backup to ensure you can still call/text anywhere there's cell service.
  10. There was one installed by Northern PCS in Brooten on the city water tower there. I do remember it was a Sprint tower, as I used to have Sprint myself and would have full native coverage in town off of that tower, even on Virgin Mobile where it can't use non-Sprint towers. I do notice it's not on that map, which is strange. Next time I'm in the area I'll get some pictures if I can. That said, I think it has microwave backhaul...I remember hearing somewhere that it was a "repeater" of some sort, though signal strength was equal to a normal tower.
  11. I'm not sure if this falls under the Minnesota or Dakotas market, but here goes: The tower in Brooten, MN has (or at least had been) having issues since July. I haven't heard of a resolution yet, though I'm not always in that area. Is that tower changing over in Network Vision or are they decommissioning the site? I looked at the coverage map on Sprint.com and it doesn't reflect that tower's coverage anymore.
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