Sprint CEO Dan Hesse and his executive team held a meeting for investors this morning to discuss Sprint’s Network Vision plan. It is pretty safe to say that the investors and analysts came away with more questions about the company’s plans than when the meeting began.
One veteran telecom analyst, David Barden from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, quipped (with audible twitters from the audience): “I’d be lying if I said I understood all the things you threw up on those slides.”
Other analysts expressed something close to incredulity that Sprint’s executives declined to comment on Clearwire’s financial prospects, given that Sprint has a majority economic interest in the company. In fact, after presenting a slide that suggested Sprint will have plenty of financial flexibility, Sprint executives acknowledged that this projection did not include the huge subsidy and other costs it will be required to absorb as it launches the “iconic” iPhone.
In one heated exchange, Sprint was asked why it was committing itself to at least $6 billion in its Network Vision buildout (including funds it had committed to LightSquared) when it could get Clearwire’s full network LTE capacity by providing it with “only $600 million, just one-tenth” of what Sprint says it’ll invest otherwise. The questioner opined that Sprint’s plan was “ridiculous,” garnering loud applause from the audience. [Computer World, 10/7]