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Sprint CEO Hesse on a Short Leash
Hyper Involved Board Suggests Potentially Short Tenure for CEO
by Karl Bode 08:11AM Wednesday Mar 14 2012
Recently Sprint's board voted down an acquisition of MetroPCS despite the deal being something Sprint CEO Dan Hesse was interested in. The move suggested, in part, that the Sprint board isn't all that confident in Hesse's plan to not only continue improving Sprint's fortunes, but also upgrade the entire network to LTE while also integrating a new company. The Wall Street Journal is running a story suggesting that Hesse is on quite a short leash and that the board has taken to getting highly involved in operations. Jim Kerstetter over at CNET argues that's not a good sign:
quote:
...the picture the WSJ paints is certainly a flattering one of an engaged, hands-on board. They are served well by this story. You don't see this sort of knifing when an exec is secure in his job. It usually means board members are trying to distance themselves from a CEO's plans gone wrong so they don't get personally sued by shareholders. Or they're getting ready to fire him. Either way, today can't be a very cheery day for Hesse, who for better or worse over the last five years has become the face of the money-losing carrier.
While they did have a big win in the AT&T T-Mobile collapse, the company has eliminated a lot of the policies that made them more consumer friendly, instead progressively mirroring the more nickel and dime policies of larger competitors AT&T and Verizon. It seems like only a matter of time before Sprint eliminates their biggest market differentiation tactic -- unlimited data for smartphones.

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caseywor

join:2004-04-19
Orlando, FL

great headline

The choice of imagery used in this headline is putting funny images in my head. Maybe I am spending too much time on the internet.

Esrey Fan

@rr.com

Re: great headline

Bring Back Esrey.... Even in his elder age he can turn the place around!!

caseywor

join:2004-04-19
Orlando, FL
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·Charter
·Mediacom

Re: great headline

One reason I am willing to put up with the Sprint network is because they haven't played the same games as the others, namely unlimited data. I actually use Boost Mobile (on Sprint's network) for the price, I am willing to trade off some on coverage for price and unlimited data. However, if that has to go at some point, I will have to shop around.

dib22

join:2002-01-27
Kansas City, MO
said by Esrey Fan :

Bring Back Esrey.... Even in his elder age he can turn the place around!!

Why does McCaw have another company to sell them
qworster

join:2001-11-25
Bryn Mawr, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast
·Verizon FiOS

That's too bad....

I think that Hesse has done a lot for Sprint. He has turned around their Customer Service - literally from 'worst to first'. He has slowed down churn. He has put together enough contiguous spectrum (Clear) for Sprint to have the best potential LTE network of all of them.

I mean he inherits the Titanic, manages to keep the ship afloat - and they bitch that it can't run like new immediately? THEY are the ones that hit the iceberg in the first place!

Idiots just can't learn - it is what makes them (remain) idiots after all.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Re: That's too bad....

said by qworster:

I mean he inherits the Titanic, manages to keep the ship afloat - and they bitch that it can't run like new immediately? THEY are the ones that hit the iceberg in the first place!

Welcome to "modern" U.S. business

Sprint did a courageous thing: They actually put a TelCom guy at the helm of a TelCom company. The others are all run by, essentially, bean-counters. (It's the same with most U.S. corporations.) The problem with doing that is that it will take time for the results of Sprint being a great TelCom company first, and a revenue-producing powerhouse second, to bear fruit. I figured all along that the Board and investors would give it just long enough for Hesse to really get rolling, then, in typical modern U.S. business fashion, grow impatient, pull the handle, flush it all down the toilet, and pick a new course, thus dooming the company to typical U.S. corporation mediocrity.

If the news article is to be believed: Looks like I called it right.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 recommendation

Re: That's too bad....

said by jseymour:

Sprint did a courageous thing: They actually put a TelCom guy at the helm of a TelCom company. The others are all run by, essentially, bean-counters. (It's the same with most U.S. corporations.) The problem with doing that is that it will take time for the results of Sprint being a great TelCom company first, and a revenue-producing powerhouse second, to bear fruit. I figured all along that the Board and investors would give it just long enough for Hesse to really get rolling, then, in typical modern U.S. business fashion, grow impatient, pull the handle, flush it all down the toilet, and pick a new course, thus dooming the company to typical U.S. corporation mediocrity.

They have given Hesse 5 Yrs to turn things around, so this isn't some qtrly overreaction by a bunch of short termers. And they have tolerated 5 yrs worth of qtrly losses.

I agree he has made progress in a bad situation, but is it enough? And keeping him on may be what they want. But most CEOs have too big an ego to allow for someone looking over their shoulder. And I don't have a problem with a Bd of Directors being more active in running the business. Way too many Boards are cronies of the CEO and nothing but a rubber stamp. I wish more Boards were proactive and keep a strong watch on the CEO's they have hired.
--
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»www.politico.com/2012-election/

BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
Uh, Sprint is still a disaster, and is in last place among the four carriers.

SteelerRaw

@timet.com

Re: That's too bad....

said by BiggA:

Uh, Sprint is still a disaster, and is in last place among the four carriers.

No, they're not. What metric are you basing that false statement off of?

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI
said by BiggA:

Uh, Sprint is still a disaster, and is in last place among the four carriers.

A disaster? Last place? In what contexts?
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: That's too bad....

They have the worst network. T-Mobile has more coverage than them. Their prices are $10 less than Verizon and AT&T, while offering a network that is falling apart. Their data speeds in many markets are worse than AT&T in Manhattan, which says something.

They have been bleeding from the botched Nextel acquisition for years, and they signed a deal with the devil to try and be a fake Verizon, and they're terrible at it.

Their EVDO network was falling apart, and no one knew until the iPhone, because it was hiding under CLEAR's sort-of-OK WiMAX network.

At least if they were like T-Mobile and had great data speeds and call quality in a very small coverage area, you could try and make an argument for them. With their network, it's hopeless.
flbas1

join:2010-02-03
Fort Lauderdale, FL
I dropped ATT so I could get Sprint. In the contract/book I read - they are first place.

ATT offers "unlimited" data - gets sued, loses, and then threatens to terminate the contract. What a disaster.

VZW (and ATT) charge to have a plan - and then charge to use the plan. To top it off - VZW charges you to make payments on the plan. What a disaster.

Sprint offers unlimited data (and I have searched for the top), and free billing/bill payments. No disaster here.

David
I start new work on
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join:2002-05-30
Granite City, IL
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said by qworster:

Idiots just can't learn - it is what makes them (remain) idiots after all.

yes but they have money, and they could easily sell out and invest somewhere else. Something hesse probably can't afford for them to do.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
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·Verizon FiOS

deploy towers..and backhaul

it's just that simple.. Sprint has adequate frequencies.. they just need to have more footprint! start deploying in more cities. there is no reason why Sprint has such as limited footprint other than the fact that they are cheap on deploying infrastructure; they need to be more ambitious so they can say that they have a REAL national network!

Those FCC wireless spectrum licenses are for a nation-wide footprint, not just select cities and states! Start deploying more LTE network elements out in the midwest and southern states! AT&T and Verizon have these markets locked up since Sprint REFUSES to compete there!

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Unlimited Data

I have been expecting the unlimited data plan to go away any time now. I have a company provided iPhone 4S on the company's plan. Data performance has been so pathetic that I have left cellular data turned off most of the time with the upside being longer battery life. Our company bill just closed on the 11th and my total data usage came to a whopping 686KB for the billing month. That consisted of PRL updates and voicemail. I spend most of my time using WiFi which came in at close to 3GB for the same period.

If Sprint wants to eliminate unlimited data, as far as I am concerned, they can keep it. Their data performance has not been stellar since I got on board in October 2011. If we wind up on a shared data bucket for the company, I am more than willing to let everyone else use it. Granted my situation is probably unique but I think if people really try, they might find they can get away without a lot of cellular data.
--
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scott2020

join:2008-07-20
MO

Re: Unlimited Data

Unlimited data is meaningless if you can't use the system. I can barely finish a speed test because the data connection is so slow. I thought it was just my area, but the same holds true for me in Las Vegas and many parts of Michigan and Missouri. My last speed tests range from 60k-180k download speed and slightly faster up. I have even tried different phones with similar results.

Two years ago Sprint's 3G would give me over 1 meg download almost all the time. Not so anymore.

mix

join:2002-03-19
Utica, MI

Re: Unlimited Data

Network Vision rollouts are underway. The side effect of installing LTE and fiber or microwave back hauls on their towers is that 3G speeds will also increase. Here is the current rollout schedule (so far):

»s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/212-n···ng-list/
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH
that's the ENTIRE Spring 3g network. And thank's to Dan and that iPhone 4S purchase now Sprint is basically bankrupt and unable to add any more bandwidth to the towers- and when you take in account the Network Vision plan - they have NO cash and a very very risky credit score.

It will be only time before Dan is gone.
slckusr
Premium
join:2003-03-17
Greenville, SC
kudos:1
Reviews:
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1 recommendation

My thoughts exactly. My friend has an evo and it takes 5-8 minutes to start streaming a youtube video, which buffers 8 seconds into it. he has full service. Sadly hes blaming his phone and not sprint. Unlimited?!? sure when you can use it, may as well have capped service at those speeds.

AuraReturn
Premium
join:2003-08-18
USA

Re: Unlimited Data

said by slckusr:

My thoughts exactly. My friend has an evo and it takes 5-8 minutes to start streaming a youtube video, which buffers 8 seconds into it. he has full service. Sadly hes blaming his phone and not sprint. Unlimited?!? sure when you can use it, may as well have capped service at those speeds.

It just depends on the area. I have Sprint the Bay Area and it's plenty fast enough for any youtube streaming and heavy browsing.
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IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

It's always more expensive to clean up the mess...

From the looks of things, the Board seemed plenty happy letting the company slouch further into irrelevance.

The iPhone (and hopefully iPad soon) strategy will save the company, and put it on equal device footing to its competition.... and that's what matters in the short term.

The network debacles needed to be undone, and that costs money... and that's not an overnight project.

Sprint can afford to have the debt. The company will be fine. Subscribers are at a record high of 55 million and it sold a total of 1.8 million iPhones during the last quarter. Notably, 40% of Sprint's iPhone purchasers were new to the carrier, which shows the device's ability to attract customers from other carriers.

If you're a believer like I am, get in on Sprint stock now. The company assets alone are worth more than 3 dollars a share, even on a buyout. No reason that this can't be a 20 dollar stock again. And that's what it's about for any stock... A certain amount of faith. I believe the company's best days are ahead. The board is just covering its @ss. Hesse is the right guy to have in charge now.
--
"We're going to start at one end of (Fallujah), and we're not going to stop until we get to the other. If there's anybody left when that happens, we're going to turn around and we're going to go back and finish it."
Lt. Col. Pete Newell: 1st Inf. US Army
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH

Re: It's always more expensive to clean up the mess...

iProducts are NOT saving the company. Those products are actually costing Sprint MORE than what they can afford. Sprint has NO $$$$ for those products due to their new network build out. Their cash is basically gone and will not come back any time soon. They're credit score is done gone and they won't be able to get any more $$$ from anyone else.

Sprint will NOT be able to afford keeping up with the iPhone and iPad purchases (if they come to the US after the issue with a patent problem) and a new network build out. Someone is going to pay for that and Sprint's BoD will NOT allow Sprint to keep going on with Dan spending the $$$$$.

IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

Re: It's always more expensive to clean up the mess...

iProducts are absolutely saving the company.

How else can you explain record subscribers?
How else can you explain 40% of new iPhone customers as new to Sprint?

What other device can do this? The new EVO?

Start with the customers. Finish with the network. Hesse is right on target.

The board's just lashing out because they failed the company before Hesse even got there.
--
"We're going to start at one end of (Fallujah), and we're not going to stop until we get to the other. If there's anybody left when that happens, we're going to turn around and we're going to go back and finish it."
Lt. Col. Pete Newell: 1st Inf. US Army
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH

Re: It's always more expensive to clean up the mess...

just because people are signing up don't mean anything. iProducts have to be paid by someone and Sprint spent their $$$ on those products and more money than they'll ever see back. Why do you think other companies have NOt signed on to carry the phone; Apple wants TOOO much to have the phone and its outrageous for companies to spend that much. The only ones that buy the Apple iProducts are the fanboys or want to be fanboys and that is it. But remember- the bigger they are the harder they fall and all things that go up must come down. CNN Money has already claimed this is the year Apple will fall and it's just that. Especially since a company from China is suing them and banning the export of iPad from China and import. As that company OWNS the world trademark of the iPad brand.

And you can claim 40% new customers any way you want; those that are counted could be counted as an upgrade to the iPhone and you would not even really know that.

And the Board is doing what they should; stop a spend happy CEO before he gets carried way and bankrupts the company even further. when they run out of $$$$ to build network vision out they can blame Dan and be done with it.

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000

Did the board support the turd bird iPhone plan?

Did this board support the "deal" that bet the farm on the iPhone?

IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

Re: Did the board support the turd bird iPhone plan?

What are you trying to say?
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
ROFL. Great way to describe it!

IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

Re: Did the board support the turd bird iPhone plan?

Great way to describe what?
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Did the board support the turd bird iPhone plan?

I was referring to morbo's "turd bird" comment.

HaloFans

join:2006-12-18

1 recommendation

Keep Hesse. Long term investments save a company.

As a former head of AT&T wireless, he has turned things around at Sprint. The FCC forced Sprint to build WiMAX or otherwise, that spectrum would be taken away. Network improvements over the past years strengthened the network. Nextel spectrum is phased out and reallocated for LTE.

Too many investors have their heads stuck up on short term investments or pump and dump stocks as disgusting as that sounds.

IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

Re: Keep Hesse. Long term investments save a company.

Agreed.

dib22

join:2002-01-27
Kansas City, MO
said by HaloFans:

Too many investors have their heads stuck up on short term investments or pump and dump stocks as disgusting as that sounds.

Sprint's board has always been shortsighted... the best thing that could happen to sprint is if someone would buy them, and buy back all shares.

IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

Re: Keep Hesse. Long term investments save a company.

Shortsighted is an understatement for what they've been.

BillRoland
Premium
join:2001-01-21
Ocala, FL
kudos:3

They need to get rid of him

Hesse is just another washed up industry hack who has fumbled Sprint all over the place. Hesse's biggest gift is the ability to sell Wall Street on ludicrous plans with silly terms.