Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has been pretty forthright regarding the challenges Sprint currently faces. Specifically, Hesse has previously stated that the iPhone, or lack thereof, was the top reason for subscriber defection over the past few years.
And with AT&T and Verizon already operating with a head start, Sprint had to make a drastic move and so as part of its deal with Apple to carry the iPhone, it agreed to purchase 30.5 million iPhones whether it could sell them all or not. It was undoubtedly a bold “bet the company on the iPhone” type of move but as it turns out, it looks to have been the right decision.
The iPhone 4S quickly became Sprint’s most successful product launch in history and though Sprint’s earnings still leave a lot to be desired, the company is publicly very satisfied with the business the iPhone has brought in for them.
A few days ago, the Dow Jones reported on remarks made by Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer regarding 4G LTE networks and the rumored iPhone 5. Euteneuer explained that Sprint’s contract with Apple is similar to those already in place at AT&T and Verizon in that Sprint isn’t being held to any particular 4G coverage requirements as a precursor to carrying a 4G enabled iPhone 5.
“If you make the assumption that they launch a device at a similar time that they did last year, you’re basically done with the major markets” on Sprint’s 4G LTE buildout, Euteneuer said, noting the carrier plans to initially cover around 100 million Americans. “So I don’t think we are really disadvantaged at all.”
Sprint’s 4G coverage is currently not up to snuff with what AT&T and Verizon offer. As for a 4G enabled iPhone 5, with the latest iPad sporting 4G functionality, it stands to reason that Apple’s next-gen iPhone will as well.