In the US telecom race, Sprint Communications is the #3 wireless carrier behind Verizon and AT&T in terms of subscribers. While the namesake brand is reserved for premium postpaid accounts, Sprint also offers prepaid mobile access through its Virgin Mobile USA and Boost Mobile subsidiaries, which target a younger demographic. It also provides cellular access to other carriers and resellers on a wholesale basis. The company's legacy wireline business provides long-distance voice, Internet, and data services primarily to corporate customers and other carriers. In 2013 Japan's SOFTBANK acquired 78% of Sprint and the company changed its name from Sprint Nextel to Sprint Communications.
Sprint's corporate headquarters are located in Overland Park, Kansas. The company offers wireless and wireline voice and data transmission services to subscribers in all 50 US states, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
The company operates in two segments: Wireless and Wireline. Wireless primarily includes retail, wholesale, and affiliate revenue from a wide array of wireless voice and data transmission services along with equipment revenue from the sale of wireless devices and accessories. Wireline primarily includes revenue from domestic and international wireline voice and data communication services, including services to the cable systems operators that resell our services to residential end-use subscribers.
Sales and Marketing
The company serves more than 55 million customers with mobile voice, data, and Web services over a nationwide network.
Sprint sells its products through direct sales representatives, retail outlets owned and operated by the company, indirect sales agents, and subscriber-convenient channels, including web sales and telesales. The company focuses on the marketing and sales of wireless services on targeted groups of retail subscribers: individual consumers, businesses, and government organizations.
Sprint markets its services using traditional print and television advertising along with online ads and various sponsorships. Its advertising expenses totaled $1.4 billion for each of the past three fiscal years.
The company’s revenue increased by 5% in fiscal 2012 compared to 2011. The bump was primarily due to a 7% increase in revenue in from the company's wireless segment. Retail service revenue increased $1.5 billion, or 6%, in fiscal 2012 as compared to 2011.
Sprint's net loss increased by 50% in fiscal 2012 compared to 2011 due to increased administrative expenses, higher costs of services and products, severance, asset impairments, depreciation, and amortization.
The company’s cash flow increased by $630 million in fiscal 2012 compared 2011 due to an increase in cash provided by financing activities, partially offset by cash used in repayments of debt and capital lease obligations.
Faced with brutal competition from AT&T, Verizon, and a host of smaller regional players, Sprint has partnered with other companies and shed physical assets to cut operational costs and increase liquidity. In early 2014 it cut jobs and closed more than 50 stores and a handful of call centers as part of its ongoing cost reduction efforts.
Sprint differentiates itself from AT&T and Verizon by offering unlimited data usage for smartphone users, a sales tactic abandoned by its rivals. In a move that added considerable appeal to the company's selection of wireless devices, Sprint began to offer Apple's popular iPhone in 2011, eliminating one of its marketing disadvantages. In another bid that year to woo subscribers becoming more accustomed to using their phones for almost everything, the company teamed with Internet search leader Google to roll out Google Wallet, a service that enables mobile users to make payment to certain retailers with an Android-based phone using the corresponding Google Wallet phone app.
In 2013 the company formed a mobile advertising network with European telecom giant Telefonica that will offer advertisers access to more than 370 million customers in the Americas and Europe.
Mergers and Acquisitions
The company is betting on strong demand for 4G wireless broadband services to justify the expense of its investment in Clearwire. In mid-2013 it acquired the nearly 50% of Clearwire it didn't already own for about $2.2 billion. Sprint plans to continue to fund Clearwire's LTE buildout as a complement to its own.