updated 10:30 am EDT, Fri October 7, 2011
Sprint makes iPhone centerpiece of strategy event
Sprint during its Strategy Update event in New York City on Friday made clear that the iPhone was the core of its device strategy for the future. Reiterating that the lack of an iPhone was the top reason customers left the carrier, CEO Dan Hesse saw it as the cure to a lack of brand recognition and high churn, or customer turnover. He revealed that Sprint had gone so far as to time the event around the iPhone 4S launch so that it could discuss the importance.
"How do we take both [brand and churn] to the next level? The answer is the iPhone," Hesse said. "You want to be associated with great brands, and Apple is the best brand in the tech space."
He was aware that Apple called for steeper subsidies than some but still anticipated that it would be "one of our most profitable" devices in the future. Senior Network VP Bob Azzi added that Sprint had "built into all our processes" the likely load from an iPhone and has been doing so for months.
CDMA voice was being moved to 800MHz to give better voice connections, most of all indoors, as well as to improve data, Sprint said. Networks were being updated in groups to maximize the perceived effect. Many of its weak points in an urbanized area like New York City will be eliminated altogether.
The statements don't directly confirm rumors but support a major leak that Sprint may have bet its future on Apple. Although it will still have Android devices to lean on, the carrier is counting on becoming a better if not best choice through its keeping unlimited data and improving its network reputation. Its planned move to LTE for 4G will also future-proof it against a commonly assumed jump to LTE on the iPhone for as soon as 2012.