KANSAS CITY — Sprint Nextel’s last, best hope for a financial comeback may be in becoming a buffet among mobile providers, wooing customers over to its all-you-can-eat data plan.
The company currently sits third behind AT&T and Verizon in mobile subscribers. Among other woes, Sprint Nextel is bogged down in an expensive licensing contract with Apple for iPhones that makes it harder to keep up with its competitors’ network upgrades. The company is banking on its self-proclaimed status as a “Truly Unlimited” data provider to carry it back to profitability, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
As Bloomberg Businessweek reports:
“Craig Moffett of Bernstein Research says Sprint’s ability to invest in upgrades is hamstrung by its “punishing” contract with Apple. “Sprint doesn’t have enough free-and-clear spectrum to launch a competitive LTE network,” he says, referring to the slices of radiowaves that carriers purchase and use to transmit data. “And it doesn’t have the money to [free up] spectrum that’s already in use.” The result: Sprint’s 4G customers will communicate over a weaker network. The next-generation spectrum Verizon and AT&T are using provide much better service than Sprint’s in buildings, says Moffett. “The first quarter was a quarter in which we were ramping up the pipeline, and we got a huge amount done in terms of zoning, leasing, and launching construction that gives us confidence that we’ll achieve our goals,” counters Sprint’s Sloat.”