sprint

After rumors of spinning off Nextel, rumors of getting bought out by Deutsche Telekom, and making some sort of weird combination of declaring uncle and making a Hail Mary pass by creating a new, separate WiMAX company... after all that we weren't exactly expecting Sprint to report anything very good about the past three months. We don't want to say it was worse than we expected, because it wasn't. Of course, we were expecting that the entire company would explode like a Death Star with a proton torpedo in its reactor vent shaft, so it would have been pretty tough for them stoop that low.

Their press release has the lowlights:

  • Loss of $253 million on $8 billion in revenue. Revenue was down 9% over last year and last year they made $253 million in profits. So that's bad.
  • Loss of 1.09 million subscribers, the vast majority of whom where standard, “post-paid” subscribers.
  • Their Average Revenue Per User (aka ARPU, who is the angry, vengeful god of wireless carriers) was down 6% over last year as well.

“As expected, our Wireless business delivered weak financial results. While the business will continue to face challenges in the short term, we are making progress in methodically attacking the sources of our performance issues. In the first quarter, we implemented a new, more focused brand campaign, we executed on our plans to take costs out of the business, and we made progress on the larger organizational and strategic decisions that we believe will lead to improved profitability in the long term,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint Nextel CEO

That Treo 800w better get released on July 22nd as expected, both Sprint and Palm are gonna need it.

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Sprint: even more bad news

So as Dieter is n/a today (hanging with some RIM geeks), it pains me to have to take the reigns and write more bad Sprint news articles--but who can ignore such a calamity?

Evidently, to help stem the loss of all that revenue and subscribers, Sprint is doing what every corporation does in that situation: fire..err..layoff people, usually the bottom tier of course (don't get me started on labor issues).

More precisely, they are planning to

  • cut 4,000 jobs
  • close stores
  • lower wireless phone plans

Everything must go! We will not be undersold!

That lowering of price-plans sounds nifty. Then again, if you're sly enough to be on SERO or are another carrier, you probably already noticed Sprint's "other plans" and have decided for other reasons not to sign up (phone lineup, coverage, customer service)--lets be clear, Sprint already has some of the most competitive plans on the block, so it seems odd that lowering them even more will help.

Yikes. Please pull through Sprint as personally I can't take the "other" guys.

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Ah, DSL Reports. That high-speed, mobile and virtual drag-racing website where geeks alike go to compare the speeds of their devices and wage endless carrier wars with each other.

Plus it's also great for seeing unreleased devices pop up on "the grid", so to speak.

In this case we have Palm's highly anticipated Treo 800w (which Dieter and I just love talking about in the latest podcast). Sure, it's hardly ground breaking stuff but with "silly season" upon us for this device, any news, sighting or info gets some of us psyched.

What does the report tell us? Not much. 320x320 resolution, it's on Sprint, it's running Mobile Internet Explorer 7.11. That last bit about MIE 7.11 is also important as IE 7.x is found in WM 6.1, though it is not clear if it's the full new version of Mobile Internet Explorer that Derek "the Master of Mobility, the Wizard of Wireless, the Warlock of Windows Mobile" Snyder showed off a while back with full Flash, Silverlight and h.264 support or the slightly improved (but it's no Opera 9.5) version found in WM 6.1. Time will tell.

Finally, while that speed (475 kbps) ain't bad, it's well below that of EvDO RevA speeds telling us either that device is non-RevA-enabled (as our earlier report suggested) or perhaps there were no RevA towers at that moment.

Thanks to AngelsFan for the tip!

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11

Sprint Treo 800w Release Date (and more info)!

All righty folks, we teased you earlier, now we have the 411: here's when Sprint plans on releasing the Treo 800w:

Tues, July 22nd

Hopefully you put your guess in to our stupendous contest to win one of these bad boys. You can still head on over and make a guess, but July 22nd is now officially off limits for future guessing. Congrats to the lucky folks who already put in for that date, now we see if Sprint can actually make their self-imposed target date (or change it out of spite).

That's not the only inside info we have for you, though. A bit more after the jump!

While the specs and details on the Treo 800w have been pretty well known for awhile now, turns out that there were a few wrong bits and a few bits that needed confirmation. Here's the new skinny:

  • Threaded SMS (looks to be the Palm type, not Microsoft's)
  • WM 6.1
  • Autonomous GPS
  • KB is larger than the Centro, slightly smaller than the 750/755
  • KB keys still light up
  • It's very fast with no lag
  • Official color: Charcoal Black (noyce!)

That's on top of the already other confirmed specs that everyone knows:

  • 320x320 resolution
  • EvDO Rev A (though some tester units are not Rev A active as of now)
  • Wifi
  • 256/128 Memory

Now to throw some water on the speculation fire...

  • no QChat and no QChat smartphones this year from Sprint (boo!)
  • no hardware Wifi switch ala Ringer switch
  • no Picture Mail/MMS yet (though see here for some hope)
  • screen is not flush i.e it's slightly recessed

Interestingly, we're hearing that there are a few different color schemes floating around (silver is the prototype) as well as some models with WM 6.0 and varying firmwares, which is to be expected in the testing phase.

But Sprint and Palm are headed into final testing in the next couple of weeks and at least WM 6.1 and Charcoal Black seem to be a go for July.

In fact, we're expecting a few more changes to the final version, so stay tuned as the details roll in!

Special Thanks to Vyruz Reaper for the assist!

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We have a new twist of events in our WiMAX WaTCH: Sprint, after ditching Clearwire, is back together with them again. That's not the crazy part, though, the crazy part is that Sprint, along with Clearwire, has managed to cobble together $3.2 Billion US in investment to create a band new company, also to be called Clearwire. The money's coming from various sources, inclding Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks.

In other words, it looks like Sprint is dropping XOHM in favor of using this new company (which they'll control 51% of, by the way), though it may be that they'll keep XOHM as the Sprint-branded version of Clearwire's WiMAX services. These services, by the way, will also be available to re-sell to other companies:

“We've made an excellent start developing XOHM WiMAX services. Contributing those advances to a strongly backed new company - in which we'll hold the largest interest - provides Sprint with additional financial flexibility and allows Sprint management to leverage and focus on our core business.
”Additionally, the agreements allowing the new company and our cable company investors to bundle and resell Sprint's third-generation wireless services strengthen the distribution of our current services while reducing the complexity and enhancing Sprint's cable relationships,“ Hesse added. -[Clearwire Press Release]

Given Sprint's many, many woes, it's to be expected that they would do something to shake things up a bit. It remains to be seen whether or not this is the right move, but it smells to us like Clearwire is going to just offer ”big fat pipe“ services for data and voice. We've been begging for that since the inception of WMExperts -- here's to hoping that the new company can offer that.

In any case, it's clear now why Sprint signed a deal to use Google's services on their future handsets, innit?

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1

Sprint Considering Selling Nextel Off

Another day, another crazy Sprint rumor. First we heard the crazy rumor that T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom was considering a Sprint acquisition. Then Sprint officially announced their spinning off at least a portion of their WiMAX infrastructure into a new company called Clearwire. Now this: the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sprint is also thinking about dumping Nextel ASAP.

No deal is imminent, these people say, characterizing the discussions over Nextel's fate as part of an ongoing strategic review at Sprint. But the fact that Sprint is even contemplating undoing the Nextel merger highlights the problems facing the No. 3 wireless carrier in the U.S. - WSJ.com (reg required for full article)

Anybody else thinking Sprint is getting rid of the stuff they know nobody else is especially interested in as a way to make themselves a juicier buyout target?

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This would be big, really big. We've been reporting on Sprint's woes for quite awhile now and apparently we're not the only ones who've noticed that Sprint has fallen on hard times of late. The parent company of both T-Mobile USA and T-Mobile Europe, Deutche Telekom, is reportedly looking into purchasing Sprint. They'd merge T-Mobile and Sprint with an eye toward competing with the two big guns in the US market, AT&T and Verizon.

Things are still at a very early stage, of course -- supposedly Deutsche Telekom is basically just “thinking about it” right now. The mess: Sprint has CDMA, iDEN, and is planning on WiMAX. T-Mobile is EDGE and just now rolling out 3G services. That's a whole lotta different radios to manage, it doesn't sound like much fun.

[Google Translation of Spiegel Online]

In other news, we reported earlier that T-Mobile has lit up New York city with 3G and is rolling it out in other areas as well. We also heard that they were just doing 3G for voice and not for data. Turns out that's only partially true -- T-Mo is rolling out 3G for data, just much more slowly and they basically can't guarantee whether faster data will work for you or not yet. It's catch as catch can. Also contrary to reports: they will do full HSDPA and not just UMTS. Phew.

Have you caught it yet?

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Happy Monday, everybody. We have Sprint's planned release date (and some other juicy new details), courtesy of Malatesta. We're confident that the date is correct -- although, as release dates tend to do, the date could possible change. Still and all, we're going to alter our Treo 800w Rumortastic Giveaway at 4pm EST today. What we're going to do is declare that after 4pm EST today, nobody can guess the particular day we have in mind. Other days will still be open for guesses if you doubt a) our source or b) Sprint's ability to deliver.

Here's what we're giving away:

  • A Treo 800w after it is officially released. If they end up calling it something else, well, let's just say we're giving away the next Windows Mobile device Palm releases for the Sprint Network. Got it?
  • An 8 gig microSD Card. Yeah, the WMExperts Store has 8 gig cards now.
  • Any 2 software titles from HobbesIsReal's excellent “Must-Have Windows Mobile Software” article. Sure, Palm will include some “secret recipe” stuff on the 800w, but you can always make Windows Mobile a little better. We believe in the software in Hobbes' article, you should too.

Head on over to the thread and post your guess, make sure it's at least 2 weeks out!

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2

Sprint to kill Voice Command

No, not the Voice Command Application built into most Windows Mobile phones, but the Voice Command service wherein you call into Sprint's servers and they interpret your voice and connect your call. It was a for-pay service that was useful for some of the Sprint-based phones that lacked on-board voice recognition.

...Or a for-pay service for some Sprint-based phones (Cough Treo 700wx Cough) whose on-board Voice Command didn't really cut it because it didn't work with Bluetooth.

In any case, PhomeMag tells us that it's going the way of the Dodo on July 1st, so if you're using the service, be sure that you've got your contacts downloaded fully and start looking for another option - we recommend WM's Voice Command ourselves, though it's not nearly as fun and cool as Nuance Voice Control

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Well this little gem slipped through the cracks around these parts (and others). Evidently, Sprint and IBM have teamed up to implement IBM's Lotus Expeditor.

The fun part? It's only Sprint's WM6 smartphones that are part of the IBM/Sprint agreement (currently), meaning those lucky users will get first shot.

How is all of this integrated you may ask? Well, who knew that Sprint had a next-gen Java platform that was in beta testing and getting ready to roll out. Called "Titan" the platform

...can run generically written rich GUI applications that can run across a broad range of devices and desktop computers. The platform also includes APIs to give you access to Sprint specific phone features.

Hey, we're all about better integrated Java on Windows Mobile instead of the emulator-feel of the current platform. What's cool of course is the combo with IBM will allow developers "...to create collaborative, desktop-style applications for client and mobile devices" and since we all know IBM Lotus Notes email and Lotus Sametime are fairly popular amongst the business crowd, perhaps it won't be long till those are bundled on future Sprint Windows Mobile devices.

Read: Lotus Expeditor inside Sprint Nextel's 'Titan' platform

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Co-Podcaster and all-around-Windows-Mobile-Expert Malatesta is reporting to us via SMS that his Sprint data isn't working. He's in New York City and started losing data yesterday at 4pm Eastern. Reprovision, reprovision... 5 times and no dice. He called up Sprint Tech Support (brave man) and they claimed: “We are experiencing a nation outage.”

We're very confident that Sprint is not actually experiencing a nationwide data outage. What's more likely is that Mal just switched over to Sprint's Ensemble Biling. Switching over to Ensemble has caused some problems for some of our forum users as well, which is a bummer because the new billing system (which everybody, slowly, is going to be migrated to eventually) is great. What's so great about Ensemble Billing?

  • It's not outsourced like their previous billing system, presumably meaning that once they're all-Ensemble their customer service should improve by dint of their solution being in-house and better known
  • You can add a “Pick 3” plan similar to T-Mobile's MyFave's or Alltel's Circle
  • It will move the merger of Sprint and Nextel just a little closer to completion
  • You can switch phones online!

That last one is really cool - just punch in your phone's data and your number can migrate to that Sprint phone you got as a hand-me-down from that rich uncle of yours, no more waiting to talk to a Sprint rep on the phone.

Still and all, who's on and who's not on the Ensemble system is still a bit of a crap shoot. Add in the crap shoot of whether or not moving to the new system will kill your ability to provision your data or keep calls from dropping and you have a lot of craps your shooting. Guess it's not just RIM that has these sorts of problems, eh?

How about you? Got Data?

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Well, just as soon as we write that article up detailing the long, sordid and stupefying history of Sprint and their lack of desire to implement MMS (aka "Picture Mail") on their Windows Mobile devices, word is Sprint is "working on it" and with Microsoft no less (woo that was a long sentence).

Once again the news comes via Sprint's Buzz site and a recent online chat on the topic of CTIA (see our coverage here). When asked by Sprint customer "Steve" about their lack of support for Picture Mail, acting Chief Marketing Officer John Garcia responded with:

We're working with Microsoft to build a PictureMail application that will work on their Windows product to give you a similar experience as our other products. As some of you may be aware, currently, you can actually do this on a Windows product, but you have to do it through e-mail or Bluetooth. We realize this is cumbersome. We're working to enhance this for you soon.

Holla! As we said in the article, Sprint was currently re-evaluating their position and while it didn't look promising, things can change rapidly. Looks like that happened, what with the combined outcry of thousands of WM nerds :-)

Now the waiting begins. Maybe we should supplant our Treo 800w contest with a "When will MMS on Sprint actually happens?". Any takers? Anyone wanna bet on the 800w having it when released? (we're opting on "no", but would love to be surprised!

Small Update: Vyruz Reaper correctly notes in our forum that indeed the Treo 800w delay may be partially related to this recent turn-of-events.

Reportedly from his sources, Sprint recently had Palm "add some new software" to the device which caused some hiccups. Hmmmm...

Thanks to Doc31 for the tip and "Steve" for asking the right question!

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Sprint WiMAX WaTCH: Delayed

Ouch. Not a month after Sprint promised us that XOHM, their WiMAX service, was all set to launch on time later this month, we hear that this isn't really going to be the case:

Sprint Nextel will delay the commercial launch of its Xohm WiMax service until later in the year, a spokesman said Wednesday.
The Overland Park, Kan., carrier was originally scheduled to launch the service this month. But it will come later this year, said spokesman James Fisher. It's the latest in a series of setbacks for the troubled company.
- [Cellular News via Engadget]

Not all that surprising given Sprint's many recent woes, but still a bummer. Folks are hoping for summer and noting that the fact that Hesse didn't really focus too much on XOHM during his CTIA Keynote should have sounded the alarm that this would happen.

At least their

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Sprint's XOHM WiMAX network might still be on track to reach 100 million people, but even 100 million people is chump change compared to the size of the market in India. If Sprint is looking for a little inspiration for how to properly roll out WiMAX, they need look no further than India's Tata Communications:

India is about to become the frontier for high-speed, mobile Internet connections. On March 4, India's Tata Communications, an emerging broadband player, announced the countrywide rollout of a commercial WiMax network, the largest anywhere in the world of the high-speed, wireless broadband technology.
Already 10 Indian cities and 5,000 retail and business customers use the product, and by next year Tata will offer service in 115 cities nationwide. The folks at Tata can hardly contain their excitement. “WiMax is not experimental, it's oven-hot,” says Tata's Prateek Pashine, in charge of the company's broadband and retail business. - [Open Gardens]

We've about reached the point where 3G has penetrated the majority of the US on the majority of carriers (apologies to T-Mobile and to, uh, my hometown, which is still EDGE-only), so it's only natural that we're looking ahead to WiMAX and the GSM-based LTE, to say nothing of the new spectrum that Verizon and AT&T just snapped up. Still, wouldn't it be nice if the roadmap for where and when we'll see these lightning fast mobile speeds was a little clearer?

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51

Treo 800w Watch: July on Sprint?

Thanks to Vyruz Reaper via SprintUsers, we have what appears to be the release chart for upcoming Sprint devices and lo and behold, the Treo 800w is smack on there for a July release (crosses fingers).

Could we at least get a new mock-up already? Yeesh...

Welp, looks like my dreams of WM 6.1 have been shattered (sheds tear) but all the other rumored features are still there:

  • WM 6.0
  • EvDO Rev A
  • WiFi
  • Autonomous GPS
  • Camera & non-camera versions

(Edit: although you do have to wonder...the date of the chart, according to the source who leaked it is actually Feb 19th, so this might not be the latest info. Wm 6.1 might not be ruled out since this pre-dates any official announcement by MS--stay tuned!)

Anywho, hop back in our contest and get the EXACT date right and you may just win one ;-)

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Looks like not only is Sprint still planning on launching XOHM, their 4G WiMAX-based network, they're feeling pretty good about it too. Electronista reports that Sprint core technology vp Ben Vos says the new network is on track (we saw a soft launch in December), presumably to the markets totaling 100 million people Sprint promised. Best part - XOHM looks to use standard IP switching to managing devices, just like the internets. That should make creating networked apps a lot easier.

...For a second there you thought we were going to talk about Sprint without bringing up the possibility of an imminent Deathwatch, didn't you? Silly rabbit. No, the wrinkle with XOHM is that Sprint isn't telling just how the expansion is going to go until their next financial results call (when they will hopefully lay out the details). Sounds an awful lot like they're trying to make sure they have some good news to offset what many expect to be a deluge of red ink and bad news.

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When we heard that the Mogul updated was coming, we were excited. When we heard that the Mogul update had arrived, we partied like we always do when there's a ROM Update (yes, we are nerds). EVDO Rev A. (first ever!) and GPS will do that to you.

However, just like when we party too hard in real life, we're hearing that some folks are experiencing a bit of a post-update hangover. Sure, EVDO Rev A is rockin', but as we feared the GPS is a little wonky. Fortunately, it doesn't require a com port hack like the BlackJack II and the Q9h do (but really those folks just need to download MoDaCo's GPS Config). Unfortunately, some folks in our forums are reporting that the GPS has the nasty little habit of randomly turning off, or not turning on, and so on.

Our very own HobbesIsReal hooks us up with the config detail on how to get GPS going and

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