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Kagan: The Sprint comeback

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Kagan: The Sprint comeback
Image courtesy of Sprint.

Sprint is on a comeback. But what exactly does that mean? I have followed them over the last few decades as a wireless analyst and I would say Sprint is better and faster than ever before. I also sense there is more to come. Their recent advertising says they are within 1% of top competitors. If that’s the case, then they have come a long way in recent years.

Let’s take a closer look. Reports of poor service are fading away. In fact, this is very similar to what has already happened with every other major competitor. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Verizon Wireless had perhaps the worst service in the industry roughly 15 years ago. Then they spend several years improving the network and emerged with a great quality service. That’s when they started using marketing to spread the word and convince the marketplace. You remember the, “Can you hear me now” campaign. This put Verizon Wireless back on the map.

A decade ago, AT&T Mobility struggled under the sudden wireless data demands of the Apple iPhone when they were the only provider of this phone. This smartphone revolution was brand new and no one had any idea what was coming. They focused on their network and recovered and have been providing a top notch service ever since.

T-Mobile had serious problems a decade ago. They missed the move from 2G to 3G and fell way behind all their competitors for many years. Only in recent years has T-Mobile worked on their network and improved it. They still have much more ground to cover, but their recovery to date has been good and getting better quarter after quarter.

So as you can see, every wireless carrier has had problems over the last decade or two. And every wireless carrier has fixed their problems. I expected nothing less from Sprint.

I was cutting against the grain for many years, but it’s good to see the company now meeting marketplace expectations and demands. So congratulations to CEO Marcelo Claure and his team.

Sprint is better, stronger and faster

Sprint had two key challenges: service and marketing. They have spent the last several years working on the network and expanding the speed and quality of their service network. There have been plenty of different opinions floating around, but over the last year or two, users have noticed a real improvement in their quality, reliability, speed and reach according to things like Sprints latest iPhone orders.

Sprint has focused on their network and according to their customers, after several years of work they are now within one percent of their competitors. I’m sure you have seen the advertising campaign touting this achievement.

Network and marketing improvement

That’s an amazing accomplishment. However, that’s only one half of the challenge. The other half is marketing. Sprint has been focused on improving the network for the last several years. Now they need to focus on spreading the story. And that is just what they are doing.

Sprint marketing seems to now be kicking their marketing into a higher gear. They have a series of campaigns in the marketplace today talking about technology, price and network quality. One of their best new marketing campaigns brings back an old favorite.

You remember the old Verizon Wireless, “Can you hear me now” campaign where actor Paul Marcarelli touted the network. As we all know, Verizon stopped that campaign several years ago. So very recently Sprint showed Marcarelli what they had accomplished and he agreed to do some ad work for them to help tell the Sprint story. This is a big Sprint win in the marketing battle.

Results: Sprint iPhone 7 sales 375% higher

One of the first signs of success is Sprint just reported a 375% increase in iPhone sales. They even topped T-Mobile who reported their own very respectable 300% increase.

What this means is their customers are happy. Perhaps it’s the price. Perhaps it’s the network. There are likely a variety of reasons just like there are with every carrier. However, bottom line, Sprint customers are happy. The Sprint recovery continues. And it is getting better and stronger as it moves forward. They are now competitive with every competitor in the space.

Sprint is on the comeback

Sprint is both winning new customers and hanging onto existing customers. So don’t believe the advertising from competitors which point to lousy Sprint quality. That was true in the past, but things are changing. They have spent lots of time and money to improve their network and customer’s satisfaction and now they are telling the world.

All of this progress means Sprint is making a solid come back. And the story is not over. Just like with every competitor, there is always more work to do. This race never ends. So we’ll have to keep our eyes on them and keep reporting. However, with all that said, I think Sprint has re-entered the race and are doing better quarter after quarter. Keep it up Sprint.