Things haven't been looking up for Sprint ever since the rumored T-Mobile merger failed to happen. There's a new CEO and the carrier has been slashing prices, but it continues to lose cash. Now, Sprint's Japanese parent company SoftBank has announced plans to cut several thousand jobs at Sprint in order to reduce costs.
Sources are saying that Sprint will soon offer a Sony smartphone in the US for the first time. We can't tell you who these sources are, but they're the kind that have spoken to Reuters and The Wall Street Journal in two separate reports. And the device apparently won't be cheap either. We're talking about an upcoming Xperia flagship. With Sony expected to unveil the Z3 at IFA next week, well, you can fill in the blanks from here. The phone will reportedly be available in time for winter holiday season.
Our hands-on look at the Xperia Z2, which we don't expect the Z3 to deviate from all that much
Sprint will carry the handset in the US, while its owner SoftBank will provide the phone in Japan.
Phones produced for the Japanese market are usually so radically different than the ones we're used to that you don't really feel like you're missing anything. However, the new Sharp Aquos Crystal may pique your interest. The difference is that you might have a chance to buy this one soon. This device comes in two sizes—5-inches and 5.5-inches. Both of them have teeny tiny, miniscule bezels. Almost none of the body peeks out from the edge of the screen.
The 5-inch version is a mid-range device with 720p resolution, a Snapdragon 400, 1.5GB of RAM, and Android 4.4. The 5.5-inch device is a premium offering packing a Snapdragon 801, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.4, and steps the resolution up to 1080p.
It's not much of a surprise at this point, but the Federal Communications Commission has approved the tri-company merger deal involving Japanese carrier SoftBank, Sprint, and Clearwire. The FCC ruling follows Justice Department approval several weeks ago, and some delicious drama that ended with Dish Network being shut out of the deal.
SoftBank is throwing $21.6 billion at Sprint to acquire a 78% stake in the company. Sprint is now also free to buy the remaining 49% of Clearwire it doesn't already own, giving it a big juicy slice of wireless spectrum. Last we heard, Dish Network was licking its wounds after losing its bid for Sprint and insinuated it could go after Clearwire.
Dish is still hungry for wireless spectrum, and intends to buy shares of LTE provider Clearwire for well above market value - at least, it intends to buy the portion of Clearwire that isn't currently controlled by Sprint.
Oh, what a tangled web gigantic mega-corps weave. Japanese telecom SoftBank wants to get its hands on an American wireless carrier, come Hell or high water, and they've just outbid Dish Network to do so. According to Reuters, Softbank has upped its bid from October of last year to $21.6 billion USD for 78% control of Sprint, topping its previous commitment of $20 billion for 70%. Dish Network is currently offering $25.5 billion in a mix of cash and stock for an outright sale, about 10% less on a share-by-share basis.
Dish has been playing hardball since its initial cash and stock bid in April, claiming that it intends to leverage ownership of Sprint to further expand video and Internet capabilities for both companies.
Sprint is currently in the midst of a buyout with Japanese company SoftBank that would give the foreign telecom control of not only the Now Network, but Clearwire as well, and infuse the company with some much-needed cash. Dish Network, however, hopes to derail these plans with a bid of its own, offering more cash than Softbank has on the table, as well as synergy with its existing television and and broadband packages.
Dish is offering Sprint roughly $25.5 billion for the carrier. This is about $5 billion more than SoftBank is offering, and would keep ownership of the company within the U.S.
AT&T has a problem on its hands. It's big, but is it big enough? If you're a CEO of a major corporation the answer to that question is always "no." However, the carrier has difficulty expanding on the home front. An overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens have phones with one carrier or another, so there's very little wiggle room to grab new customers. And gaining in market share when you (and all your competitors!) are dead set on locking people into two-year contracts is very difficult. In short, growth isn't much of an option outside acquisitions, and those haven't gone so well.
You know the drill by now. It's time for some new LTE market announcements! Woo! Party hard. The network rollouts today are coming to Pennsylvania, California, Indiana, Virginia and Puerto Rico. This comes on the heels of Sprint announcing its intention to purchase the remaining shares of Clearwire that it didn't already own.
Here's the list of new cities:
Santa Rosa/Petaluma, Calif.
Southern Puerto Rico (including Ponce, Coamo and Guayama)
Franklin County, Pa.
Page County, Va.
Enhanced 4G LTE coverage around Shenandoah County, Va.
Not a bad set of additions. There is still much to be seen in regards to Sprint's LTE network rollout, particularly over the next year.
Today, Sprint announced that it would be spending $2.2bn to acquire the remaining (roughly) half of Clearwire that it doesn't already own. The transaction, which is naturally subject to regulatory approval, will give the carrier ownership of all of Clearwire's significant share of spectrum, which will be a huge boost to Sprint as it attempts to build out an LTE network to compete with Verizon and AT&T.
Of course, these deals can take forever to close, so in the meantime, the two companies have entered into a rather brilliant agreement: Sprint has promised to buy roughly $80m worth of Clearwire stock every month starting in January 2013 for up to ten months (or a total of $800m, and slightly more than 1/3rd of the total Clearwire purchase price).