Sprint (NYSE:S) is in the fight for its life right now. The wireless carrier scored the lowest in RootMetrics' overall network performance ratings last year, lost more postpaid subscribers than any other carrier, and has been out-marketed by T-Mobile's (NASDAQ:TMUS) un-carrier plans.
But at the 2015 Citi Global Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference earlier this month, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, laid three examples that prove the carrier is down, but not out.
Sprint continues to cut bills in half
Last month Sprint launched its bold Cut My Bill in Half promotion, giving Verizon and AT&T customers the same amount of talk, text, and high-speed 4G LTE data for half of their current monthly bill if they switched to Sprint. The great thing about the plan (besides being half the price of the competition) is that customers can keep the pricing for as long as they stay with the Sprint. Apparently the plan has been working like gangbusters, because Sprint is extending the offer through 2015.
Sprint's been hard at work winning back customers after it lost 1.8 million postpaid subscribers in the first nine months of 2014, and extending this offer should certainly help turn some of those losses around.
Too much of a good thing
In a surprising announcement, Claure said at the conference that he's considering selling off some of the company's 2.5 GHz spectrum. These wireless waves are a big part of Sprint's tri-band Spark network, which can deliver download speeds up to 60 Mbps right now.
But the company got a lot of the 2.5 GHz spectrum -- maybe more than it needed -- when it bought Clearwire back in 2013. Interest in selling the spectrum is growing because the current AWS spectrum auction has brought in more than $44 billion in bids and Sprint thinks it may be able sell some of the extra 2.5GHz spectrum for a premium as well.
"We have so much, you start to ask yourself is it worth it to leave that spectrum idle without use, or you start looking at options," Claure said.
This could give Sprint some much-needed cash without jeopardizing its Spark network plans.
Fighting for old territory
Back in August T-Mobile took away Sprint's title of the largest pre-paid carrier, and Claure hasn't forgotten it.
At the conference he boasted about Sprint's addition of 400,000 prepaid subscribers in Q4 2014 -- beating out T-Mobile's 266,000. On top of that, Claure noted that Sprint added nearly 1 million net adds for the quarter, which is a huge improvement over the 477,000 net adds from the same time last year.
T-Mobile has its own plans to stay ahead of Sprint in the prepaid game though. The carrier just launched new Simple Prepaid plans that give its subscribers better options than before, for less money. We can expect over the next 12 months that both of these carriers will target prepaid customers even more.
Though Sprint had a rough year in 2014, it appears the company is already making big moves to ensure this year doesn't turn out the same. But investors should keep in mind that even with these changes, the company still has a long way to go in winning over new customers and making long-term subscribers out of them.