Telecom is a pretty big industry. Currently Verizon Wireless leads the pack with nearly 90 million subscribers, followed by AT&T with nearly 70 million subscribers. Sprint comes in around 33 million.
For as long as I can rememberincluding my nine-year gig in telecomSprint has never been without its share of challenges. Sprints $36 billion dollar acquisition of Nextel in 2005 didnt pan out so well. Many different strategies have been tried over the years, but none of them seem to have genuinely gotten the company on solid footing. Sizeable layoffs have continued.
I had to laugh at JPMorgan analyst Phil Cusicks comment (Scott Moritz, Sprint Sees the Black at the End of the Tunnel Bloomberg Businessweek 10/8/1210/14/12, p. 43):
Theres no one on Wall Street who has been around for a while that hasnt lost money on Sprint.
In my AT&T days I was always very attuned to what customers were saying, not just about AT&T but about all the major telecom players. Believe me, I heard the good, the bad, and the ugly. One message I heard frequently was consumers were not happy with Sprints customer service and its technical reliability. Now Im sure we could get many people to argue on both sides of that contention.
Well, one thing you cannot argue with is Sprint has been in the race for a long time. The question is, will Sprint be able to finish the marathon? That is a very good question. Perhaps Sprint is hitting the wall. And as every long-distance runner knows, some runners dont make it past the wall.
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