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Sprint Bets Big On the iPhone

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the over-a-barrel dept.

Iphone 366

hazytodd was one of several readers to tip news of Sprint Nextel's plan to grab a piece of the iPhone action in order to halt the company's downward slide. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Sprint has committed to buying 30.5 million iPhones over the next five years (summary of paywalled WSJ story), which at retail rates works out to roughly $20 billion. "To sell that many iPhones, Sprint would have to double its rolls of contract customers, convert all of them to the Apple device or a combination of the two." A separate rumor at Boy Genius Report suggests the iPhone 5 may be a Sprint exclusive until sometime next year, with Verizon and AT&T getting the upgraded iPhone 4S until then. Apple is holding an event to unveil the new phone tomorrow.

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wow (1)

Lindan9 (2465020) | about 3 years ago | (#37593846)

In other completely unpredicted news...

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594038)

Ok... why is this on Slashdot? This is business news. Maybe the Wall Street Journal or something could cover it. Then the suits can evaluate whether they think Sprint's investment will turn a profit. Y'know, Slashdot, Apple is a *company* and the iPhone is one of its products. There are engineers who design the products and much of what they do is technically interesting. Then there are suits who negotiate deals and perform marketing and that's what this story is about. It is not news for nerds. You may as well make a front-page post about the next time Apple hires a firm for janitorial services.

I know some of you religious types have an unending hard-on for Apple and think Steve Jobs walks on water and shits pleasant-smelling rosewater. So for you I have a surprising revelation: not everything that happens at Apple is newsworthy.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594080)

Hey, rose smell is a medical condition !!!

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594100)

Ok... why is this on Slashdot? This is business news.

This news is important to the true believers in the Way of Steve, of course. Do you not want to help Friend Steve's liver replacement fund to complete his immortal life after he ascended from Cupertino? Why do you hate Friend Steve? Are you so cruel a human being so as to let another human being die by your neglect? Friend Steve only wants what is best for you.

I must report this transgression to the Fellowship. You should expect a visit from the Black Turtleneck Ops later tonight.

Re:wow (1)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | about 3 years ago | (#37594752)

Ok... why is this on Slashdot? This is business news.

The technology offerings of a major US telecom, especially a huge shift is not of interest to geeks? If the headline was that Comcast bet big and invested in buying huge quantities of Juniper routing gear including cable modems would that be of interest? Love, hate, or indifference to Apple; a major switch by Sprint to offering Apple phones is news that many geeks care about. Deal with your insecurities.

Re:wow (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 3 years ago | (#37594322)

At least, the HP ceo won't feel completely alone now.

it was unpredicted (2)

goombah99 (560566) | about 3 years ago | (#37594496)

In other completely unpredicted news...

a sprint exclusive would be a surprise to most people. It would fit with the conflicting stories we've heard. And it would make sense for apple too as a way to turn a negative-- limited supply-- in to a positive value--exclusivity premium paid by the carrier-- without raising the price.

this will make me sad. I can totally understand the logic if it's true. But I was so hoping that t-mobile or Verizon would get the iphone 5. We don't get sprint or aT&T where I live.

Re:it was unpredicted (1)

Macrat (638047) | about 3 years ago | (#37594540)

But I was so hoping that t-mobile or Verizon would get the iphone 5. We don't get sprint or aT&T where I live.

There's a rumor that Cincinatti Bell has the new iPhone in their order system and they use the same frequency as T-Mobile.

If true, that could mean buying an unlocked iPhone directly from Apple would get T-Mobile's faster data speeds.

We'll find out soon.

Math (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37593862)

Someone can't do math. $20,000,000,000 / 30,000,000 phones = $6,666.67 per Iphone. I don't think so.

Re:Math (4, Informative)

hvrbyte (537069) | about 3 years ago | (#37593908)

Who can't do math? 20,000,000,000 / 30,000,000 = 666.67

20,000M / 30.5M = 655.74 (2)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#37594012)

Who can't do math? 20,000,000,000 / 30,000,000 = 666.67

FWIW its 30.5M not 30M.

So 20,000M / 30.5M = 655.74.

Apologies to the Iron Maiden fans who were liking the earlier calculation. ;-)

Re:Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37593916)

You're off by a 0. Heck, drop the last 7 zeroes, and 2,000 / 3 = 666.67.

Re:Math (1)

The123king (2395060) | about 3 years ago | (#37593924)

You're right. Someone can't do maths. 20,000,000,000 / 30,000,000 = 666.67...

Re:Math (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#37593926)

Ahem [google.co.uk] :

(US$ 20 000 000 000) / 30 000 000 = 666.666667 U.S. dollars

Re:Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37593930)

(please check your work)

Re:Math (0)

MichaelKristopeit355 (1968164) | about 3 years ago | (#37593934)

i believe that the someone that can't do math goes by the pseudonym "Anonymous Coward"... ~$599 phone + ~$105/mo bill * 5 years = ~$7000.

you're an idiot.

or didn't you realize that your little pocket toy cost more than most used cars?

Re:Math (-1, Troll)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37594602)

Americans can't do math, in general. That's why the banks got "to big to fail", and that's why the telcos are getting "to big to fail". If Americans could do simple math, the corporate world would have a whole different landscape. And, we wouldn't see our industry being outsourced and/or exported. If Americans could do simple math, there never would have been a housing bubble. Alas - we've been dumbed down to the point that almost no one realizes what those smart phones actually cost. That, despite Microsoft spouting gibberish about "total cost of ownership" for a product that they don't sell anyway. (This product is licensed, not sold.)

It's just embarrassing, isn't it?

Re:Math (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | about 3 years ago | (#37594664)

Oh you mean "Americans other than myself". Those OTHERS. Those "everybody except superior, smug me".

Funny how all the expert economists hold jobs in IT that let them troll Slashdot, and all the "idiots" are the ones who are running the country. Funny how all those superior Europeans (you know, the ones who have spent the Eurozone into oblivion through entitlements and bread-and-circuses and the alleged "superior math education") are now facing waves of national debt defaults and bank failures. How could that possibly have happened? I mean... they're not stupid Americans, they're SUPERIOR!

Let's see how everyone does when the flow of stupid-American money stops and they realize just how much of the Socialist Paradise floated on the not-so-endless stream of greenbacks.

Re:Math (0)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37594724)

ROFLMAO, smartass. I'm not awash in debt. I manage to make ends meet. I'm atypical, alright? I'm not quite as tight as my son, or my father in law was - I can't pinch a penny hard enough to get tears from the portrait. But, I'm not in debt. If I lost my job tomorrow, I needn't worry about making car payments, house payments, credit card payments, tuition payments, 2nd mortgage payments - none of that.

So, yes, I can do basic math. If I make ten dollars, I spend a little less than ten dollars. If I make a thousand dollars, I spend a little less than 900 dollars. MOST Americans make ten dollars and spend twelve. When they make a thousand, they spend 1100, and sign a note for another 500. Basic math, son, very basic. You can't spend more than you make.

Re:Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37593936)

Yeah, someone can't do math, but it's not who you think. :-)

Re:Math (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 3 years ago | (#37593966)

Check your math.

20,000,000,000 / 30,500,000 = $655 per device

The question is what this will do to Sprint's fees, and what they plan to do if they fail to double their user base AND get an iPhone into all of their hands.

Re:Math (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594222)

*Jumps in line to kick the idiot while he's down*

All in (1)

mirix (1649853) | about 3 years ago | (#37593866)

Guess they're banking on the public loving apple, let's see how that bet holds out.

I think $20B is out to lunch though, I'd expect bulk rate if I ordered 30 MILLION widgets.

Re:All in (2)

The123king (2395060) | about 3 years ago | (#37593946)

That's why the article said that it's $20billion AT RETAIL. Of course Sprint is going to get them cheaper. You can't turn a profit any other way.

Re:All in (4, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 3 years ago | (#37594104)

Yes you can, you charge the customer more than you pay and hide the extra in the monthly charges. Some phones are free to consumers.

Do you really think the phone companies were paid by the manufacturers to distribute those phones?

Now, does that mean they paid retail? Not necessarily or even probable, but your reasoning was just silly wrong.

Re:All in (1)

raehl (609729) | about 3 years ago | (#37594154)

For the iPhone, retail price is likely essentially equal to the price Sprint pays. Phones are loss-leaders, not profit centers.

Re:All in (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37594630)

Uhhhhh - twenty billion dollar loss leaders? Alright - if you say so. Let me look again, and count those zeros. Yep. Twenty Billion - not million. Oh-kayyy - loss leaders. If you know what you're talking about, they are taking one HELL of a gamble!

I suspect that those phones are going to be sold at some kind of markup. Maybe only a slight markup, but a markup all the same. No company can afford to take a loss on that much investment capital. Especially considering the number of returned phones, for whatever reason.

Re:All in (1)

node 3 (115640) | about 3 years ago | (#37594228)

Guess they're banking on the public loving apple, let's see how that bet holds out.

Yeah, what a craaaaazy bet that would be!

Re:All in (2)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 3 years ago | (#37594564)

That's ridiculous. I love my iPhone, and my contract has been up for 4 months or so. When the iPhone 5 comes out on AT&T, I'm getting one. But switching carriers for it? Hah! General hassle aside, I'll be damned if I'm giving up my grandfathered unlimited data plan.

Would Sprint really think that it'd be worth a risky deal that, chances are, will never pay off? Making a 5-year commitment in order to get a 6-month head start, where everyone knows they can just wait? In a market where most people are on a 2-year upgrade cycle? So, let's be generous and say that 1 in 2 people are actually able to take advantage of the deal. What percentage are going to be willing to shell out for a new iPhone and go through the trouble of changing carriers to get a phone they'll have to keep for 2 years 6 months early? What percentage of those haven't already had a bad experience with Sprint? What percentage of those won't be enticed right back away by one of their better-funded competitors?

No way Sprint could be so stupid. If they are, well, short selling is still legal, right?

Re:All in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594646)

I remember Sprint. They changed the terms of my contract.

Odds of ever having a Spring account again is near zero.

Re:All in (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37594688)

your grandfathered unlimited plan is dead jim... the only people clinging to it are the fools.

they throttle you MAJOR HARD when you get past their 2GB plan's data point. I'm talking 56K dialup hard with latency so bad that even twitter is painful to use.

Stop spending an extra $5.00 a month for something fake.

Re:All in (1)

ajayrockrock (110281) | about 3 years ago | (#37594730)

My contract is up with AT&T and my 3GS is showing it's age so there's a very high probability that I'm getting the next iPhone. I hate AT&T though, as it's pretty expensive. Right now I pay 160 bucks for two phones (one normal, one iphone). The wife pays 100 bucks on her Verizon phone. So that's $260 going out for cell phones which is crazy.

Like you I had the unlimited data plan but had to ditch it as I needed to add on tethering for my laptop (didn't jailbreak, went the official route). It seems like AT&T want to do everything they can to get rid of the unlimited data users.

Sprint has an unlimited data plan and have recently stated that it's "here to stay" [geeky-gadgets.com] . So if sprint gets the phone tomorrow and the prices are still decent, then I'll cancel Verizon and AT&T and put us all on Sprint and probably save 100 bucks a month doing that.

I wonder how many towers $20 billion would buy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37593886)

I wonder how many towers $20 billion would buy, so that Sprint might actually be a choice around here, instead of the joke option you pick when you don't want to own a cell phone that can actually receive calls? Or browse the Internet? Or be anything but a waste of power?

I mean, shit, AT&T has better coverage where I live than Sprint does, and AT&T is shit! Everyone I know is on Verizon because Verizon owns the only network that bothers covering the area.

Now I'm sure that varies from place to place, but - well, in the northeast at least, Sprint is an absolute joke as a cell phone provider. That $20 billion would have been better spent on improving their network than blowing it on phones.

Re:I wonder how many towers $20 billion would buy (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 3 years ago | (#37594108)

Can they actually just go "Okay, here's a check for n-million" and build a tower, or do they have to go through years of zoning, permits, and the like to get a tower constructed?

I honestly don't know, but I do know communities are so finnicky about having those towers near them that there's significant money in selling camoflauged towers.

Re:I wonder how many towers $20 billion would buy (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37594134)

In many areas the towers are already there. AT&T and Verizon are already using them. I takes nothing other than leasing space on them for another cell provider to get his gear on those towers.

Re:I wonder how many towers $20 billion would buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594174)

In many areas the towers are already there. AT&T and Verizon are already using them. I takes nothing other than leasing space on them for another cell provider to get his gear on those towers.

Ah, but you forget exclusivity periods, and yearly rate increases as well as hardware upgrades as the signal standards change.

Re:I wonder how many towers $20 billion would buy (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37594660)

Most places that require years and years of zoning law battles are already fairly saturated. That portion of our nation which has no coverage isn't going to put many obstacles in the way of new towers. I have fifteen acres, and secondary highway access to it, if anyone wants to put up a tower. No zoning to worry about, just send me a notice, and I'll get the building permit! The single minor hurdle will be getting the aviation people to sign off, but since I'm miles away from the two nearest airports, that won't be a problem either.

Re:I wonder how many towers $20 billion would buy (2)

goombah99 (560566) | about 3 years ago | (#37594536)

I wonder how many towers $20 billion would buy, so that Sprint might actually be a choice around here, instead of the joke option you pick when you don't want to own a cell phone that can actually receive calls?

I think you are thinking about this wrong. Sprint is not losing 20B. theey are hoping for a 20B influx from either new subscribers or old ones churing to iphones. for new subscribers the payback time would be within a year since the marginal cost of new subscribers is small.

thus within 2 years that 20B should be all paid back.

the way apple books the payments usually they don't want it all upfront either. so chances are this isn't a 20B pre-pay but a 20B contract ammortized over 5 years.

thus the net effect is that sprint should have a positive cash flow to build new towers if their subscribers increase.

Re:I wonder how many towers $20 billion would buy (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 3 years ago | (#37594598)

I know that without expanding their limited coverage here in Alabama, they won't be signing up any new customers by selling iphones.

Yeah, IF you're in a major city or IF you're on a major highway, you can get service. It's just that people have a habit of traveling away from home on a regular basis.

AT&T is bad enough, but Sprint is worse.

They'll have my name on a contract (0)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37593890)

...when they force a pen into my cold, dead hands and wiggle my fingers to draw an 'X' ...

...over where I wrote in big, bold letters NEVER A CONTRACT AGAIN!

Seriously. I get by rather well on a stupid phone with pay as you go, though I did have a run-in this morning with the scum who subscribe people into their 'Love Genie Tips' - Wise Media, I think they are called. Watch out for texts which enroll you into their program and cell providers actually allow this sort of crap.

Re:They'll have my name on a contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594084)

...though I did have a run-in this morning with the scum who subscribe people into their 'Love Genie Tips' - Wise Media, I think they are called. Watch out for texts which enroll you into their program and cell providers actually allow this sort of crap.

Care to give us some context? What are 'Love Genie Tips'? Is this some type of euphemism about polishing your lamp?

Re:They'll have my name on a contract (4, Insightful)

TexVex (669445) | about 3 years ago | (#37594114)

I get by rather well on a stupid phone with pay as you go

I imagine that for many, contract voice and data plans are very good. I, however, got sick of them after having a PocketPC for two years and then an iPhone for two years. I finally realized that 90% of my already small amount of data usage was just twiddling my thumbs, and that 90% of my actual phone usage was in a place where I was in front of a computer.

So I got a pay-as-you-go phone for under $100. It has a touchscreen, camera, mp3 player, etc. along with a Web browser that just uses pay-as-you-go minutes instead of counting bytes. It uses AT&T's network, so it has the same coverage as my iPhone did. When I'm gonna be on a long call, I just put the cellphone down, put on a headset, and talk through my computer on Google Voice for free.

Now I'm paying $70/month less and wondering why I ever allowed myself to get roped in to those contracts in the first place.

Re:They'll have my name on a contract (1)

FsG (648587) | about 3 years ago | (#37594618)

Fascinating! Which plan/provider and phone did you get to do this so cheap?

Re:They'll have my name on a contract (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 3 years ago | (#37594190)

...over where I wrote in big, bold letters NEVER A CONTRACT AGAIN!

I'm in total agreement. We were on a low-end family plan, making almost no calls and spending $80+/month for the privilege.

Now we're on pay as you go. We're still making almost no calls; but my daughter has the unlimited texting she wanted, I can use my new smartphone as much as I care to - and we're paying less than $50/month in total.

Re:They'll have my name on a contract (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#37594242)

What provider is this?
Do they let you bring your own phone or is it some outdated set of midrange smartphones?

that's not bet big... (1)

hype7 (239530) | about 3 years ago | (#37593896)

... that's all in. whoever made that bet should be standing up right now.

Apple (0)

gottspeed (2060872) | about 3 years ago | (#37593912)

People will buy them, they'll offer 'em with long plans to keep the price down, and as the public gets dumber, and they will, more and more people will turn to the one button wipe my bum for me interface. Plus, you're not sophisticated unless you buy whats in the magazines, if you want to mate, you'll buy one.

Re:Apple (3, Funny)

drnb (2434720) | about 3 years ago | (#37594096)

...more and more people will turn to the one button wipe my bum for me interface ...

Its a vast improvement over the three sea shells.

Re:Apple (2)

emeyer (30603) | about 3 years ago | (#37594184)

re: Its a vast improvement over the three sea shells.

How many people are going to get this reference? I'm sorry to admit that I just watched that movie recently.

Re:Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594278)

Just tell people you heard the movie had a lot of explosions and a young Sandra Bullock in very tight costumes. Most people will understand. :-)

Re:Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594360)

How many people are going to get this reference?

What's worse, of those that do know the reference, how many ACTUALLY know how to use the three sea shells?

Re:Apple (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37594648)

I for one did immediately. It was a movie that deserved to be much more popular. I'm not sure who wrote it, but they did a really good job of putting that sort of detail in without providing even the slightest hint as to how one used the sea shells.

Or the somewhat more explained rise of Taco Bell to rule over the restaurant industry.

"over 5 years" (1)

Ossifer (703813) | about 3 years ago | (#37593958)

Who keeps the same phone for five years?

Redo the math considering that people repurchase iphones every 18-24 months...

Re:"over 5 years" (1)

CBRcrash (1061324) | about 3 years ago | (#37594152)

I'm sure that their deal allows for a refresh of their inventory when a new line comes out

Re:"over 5 years" (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 3 years ago | (#37594208)

Who keeps the same phone for five years?

Redo the math considering that people repurchase iphones every 18-24 months...

I am pretty sure my family is atypical; but until we got new phones this year (when we switched to pre-paid), we were still using the phones we'd gotten in 2004.

Re:"over 5 years" (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37594570)

Who keeps the same phone for five years?

I do. I have an Audiovox 8610 dumbphone, and I save 90% on my cell phone bill compared to a smartphone.

Re:"over 5 years" (1)

rec9140 (732463) | about 3 years ago | (#37594580)

"Who keeps the same phone for five years?"

I do!

Motorola UCH80000, Nokia 280, Audiovox 9000, Audiovox 9155gpx, LG VX8610 Decoy (This the first time in years, that I did an upgrade in less than 5 or more years) LG VS740 ALly, but 2015 or so will be the next upgrade, maybe.

Thats since 1984 or so....

Re:"over 5 years" (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37594678)

I have a 8 year old Iridium phone that is still active and grandfathered into a pay per minute plan.

who keeps the same phone for 5+ years? people that buy real phones instead of the consumer toys.

What are they thinking? (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 3 years ago | (#37593974)

I really gotta wonder what their executives are thinking. Why not do something to earn the market share like:

  • Providing more price-competitive packages.
  • Providing better service.
  • Upgrading network capacity.
  • Providing better 4G caps than the competition.
  • ?

Honestly, expecting the sales of iPhone to be the salvation of the company is such naive wishful thinking it's scary. It's a sign of management that has no real ideas about how to be competitive, but only how to be a "me too" provider.

Re:What are they thinking? (3, Interesting)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 3 years ago | (#37594016)

Are they not doing any of that? I'm not a sprint customer, but I've been thinking of switching. They seem to be the only carrier left with an unlimited data plan, their rates seem fairly competitive, and at least in my area coverage is complete (although I don't know how it is around the rest of the country). Considering the iPhone's popularity, perhaps not having it really is limiting their growth. Perhaps maybe $20B is a comparatively cheap way of growing their market share (compared to infrastructure improvements, for example).

Re:What are they thinking? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 3 years ago | (#37594028)

Sprint already has very low rates and no caps. Service and capacity, I don't know. But the other two, they have.

Re:What are they thinking? (1)

bdenton42 (1313735) | about 3 years ago | (#37594044)

Both AT&T and Verizon had no caps before iPhone was offered... I would be very surprised if Sprint continued to do so.

Re:What are they thinking? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 3 years ago | (#37594582)

Considering that they've made it a huge part of their advertising, I'm guessing that Hesse really means to carry through with it. I don't rate his chances as all that good, but considering that the alternative is to sell the company to Verizon, it's probably not a real waste of money. Verizon isn't going to pay much more than the value of the physical plant + spectrum licenses, and those are worth money even if the company tanks.

Re:What are they thinking? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 years ago | (#37594040)

I know one thing that they'll be thinking - no WP7 or Android phones for sale in their stores, or at least, tucked away in the far corner and the salesmen given instructions (and bonuses) to shift iPhone stocks.

You thought it was going to be hard for Windows Phone to get some market share before, it just got a lot harder.

Re:What are they thinking? (4, Interesting)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 3 years ago | (#37594130)

> Providing more price-competitive packages.

Compared to what? Sprint has plenty of warts, but price (at least, for individual customers with no family plan and exactly one phone who'd burn through AT&T and Verizon's caps within a matter of days and are perfectly cool with $69.95 + $10 for 450 minutes of peak airtime, and more or less unlimited everything else) isn't really something I'd classify as one of them.

> Providing better 4G caps than the competition.

Root your phone like everyone else, and the 4g hotspot caps are meaningless. Sprint chose that specific group very carefully -- the nontechnical users who actually go out and PAY for an official hotspot plan are almost exactly the same group who'll try to use their phone as their one and only means of internet access.

Sprint isn't stupid... they know the overwhelming majority of users who root, reflash, and tether for free already have the most expensive cable or DSL internet access they can buy, and use it instead of their Sprint data service when they're at home just because it's faster and works better. To repeat: Sprint really doesn't care about users who tether once in a blue moon so they can get online with their laptop at an airport somewhere while waiting for a plane. Sprint passionately cares about users who try to use tethering as a substitute for real internet service and 21st-century dialup.

Nobody who has high-end internet access at home is going to screw around with torrenting from a tethered phone, because it would be slow, suck, and annoyingly cause most of your incoming calls to end up going straight to voicemail. Likewise, statistically nobody with the means to tether is going to stream lots of HD video, because it's not free -- users who tether for free rip their content from Blu-Ray, convert it to .mkv, copy it to their 32-gig Class 10 microSD cards, and watch it from THERE. Sprint is one of the few carriers who understands that the users who can most easily subvert any controls they try to impose are likely to be the ones who fall towards the lower end of total monthly data use, simply because those users have better ways of getting online anyway.

> Upgrading network capacity.

No arguments there. Sprint definitely has plenty of room to improve in that regard.

Re:What are they thinking? (1)

enigmatichmachine (214829) | about 3 years ago | (#37594538)

Agreed completely.
My iphone data usage is ~300 MB/mo. I use netflix app daily.
My wifes is closer to 3 GB/mo. she just browses the web.

the reason? I have wifi on at home and at work.
she doesn't know what wifi is. the phone either works or it doesn't for her. I tried explaining that LOLCATS will load faster if she goes on the wifi, but if it involves doing ANYTHING, pressing a single button, she won't do it.

Re:What are they thinking? (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | about 3 years ago | (#37594684)

Doesn't it automatically switch over to wifi when available (i.e., not involving pressing a single button)?

Re:What are they thinking? (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | about 3 years ago | (#37594696)

iPhones don't support connecting to remembered networks automatically?

450 minutes? I don't even use 45 (0)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37594636)

Sprint has plenty of warts, but price (at least, for individual customers with no family plan and exactly one phone who'd burn through AT&T and Verizon's caps within a matter of days and are perfectly cool with $69.95 + $10 for 450 minutes of peak airtime, and more or less unlimited everything else) isn't really something I'd classify as one of them.

Unless one is used to cellular service costing that much per year because that's what Sprint's Virgin Mobile USA offers for dumbphones, and they don't make even 45 minutes of cellular calls a month, let alone 450. People who rely on a prepaid dumbphone (such as myself) probably have POTS or VoIP at home and use the cellular network to make only urgent calls such as to arrange rides, not unlike your urban users who turn on the smartphone's Wi-Fi at home and work.

Nobody who has high-end internet access at home is going to screw around with torrenting from a tethered phone

Except perhaps people who live outside the coverage area of cable and DSL service, where nobody offers "high-end internet access at home", where the best options for home Internet are satellite and fixed 3G/4G. They're the people who should be using Qwikster instead of Netflix.

because it would be slow, suck, and annoyingly cause most of your incoming calls to end up going straight to voicemail

Then schedule your torrents to kick in between 1 AM and 6 AM, when your incoming calls were going to voice mail anyway.

So... (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | about 3 years ago | (#37593984)

...some company has made a contract with some other company based on the belief that a lot of people are going to buy mobile phones in the reasonably near future.

Meanwhile some other company are ordering a lot of flat meat-like substances based on the belief that lots of people will buy hamburgers in the near future.

Big deal!

Preview of the IPhone 5, from NMA in Tapei. (3, Funny)

Animats (122034) | about 3 years ago | (#37594004)

To All Developerz: +5, Informative (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594008)

When will a creative botnet shut down ALL cell phones?

I'm tired of the _Fill_In_Your_App_Here App for the iPhone, Android, Foo Phone.

Yours In Minsk,
K. Trout, C.I.O.

And in the meantime .... (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 3 years ago | (#37594046)

Customers are being bitches to the agreements and schemes made in between corporations, totally without their participation or will.

They still have (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | about 3 years ago | (#37594060)

unlimited plans that are, well, unlimited. I really hope that they mention that talking point heavily in their advertising.

Re:They still have (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594240)

Read the fine print .. its 5 gig

Re:They still have (1)

Xenx (2211586) | about 3 years ago | (#37594412)

Only 4g hotspot is limited to 5gb.

iPhone 5 may be a Sprint exclusive (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#37594074)

The idea of iPhone 5 being a Sprint exclusive doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Obviously it would be great for Sprint, but I don't see what Apple would get from such an arrangement, other than a horde of pissed off existing customers who have a shiny new toy dangled in front of their face and then told that they can't have it right here and now.

Re:iPhone 5 may be a Sprint exclusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594166)

Same thing they got from AT&T, several trucks filled with money.

Re:iPhone 5 may be a Sprint exclusive (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 years ago | (#37594346)

But would it be enough to offset the phone sales they would have gotten? At the current rate, Apple sells 20M iPhones a quarter. If the rumor is true then AT&T and Verizon customers will not have new iPhones until 2012 at the earliest. For the sake of argument only 10% of the 20M would have bought from AT&T and Verizon in the US and at estimated $600 per phone with $180 margin, Apple would stand to lose $360M profit/ $1.2B revenue in the next 3 months alone. (10% of 20M X $600 X 30% margin). I don't see how Spring could pay Apple enough money to offset their potential sales.

Re:iPhone 5 may be a Sprint exclusive (2)

larry bagina (561269) | about 3 years ago | (#37594506)

People are still buying the iPhone 4 after 18 months. People are still buying the iPhone 3GS after 2 years. A 3-month lag won't kill their sales (especially so if they drop the price on the iPhone 4 and the new phone (5? 4S?) is a relatively minor update).

Re:iPhone 5 may be a Sprint exclusive (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#37594574)

Exactly. Unless Apple is really worried about Android (or perhaps RIM, but certainly not Nokia^HMicrosoft). And they don't seem to be that worried.

But here we are again, playing "Wack an iPhone". Apple hasn't even formally announced the damn thing yet.

Re:iPhone 5 may be a Sprint exclusive (1)

Macrat (638047) | about 3 years ago | (#37594590)

but I don't see what Apple would get from such an arrangement

A load of cash from Sprint?

Re:iPhone 5 may be a Sprint exclusive (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#37594594)

That would be a very huge load of cash, to compensate for all the lost sales.

So huge, in fact, that I doubt Sprint would have that much to spend.

Commitment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594092)

"Mr. Hesse told the board the carrier would have to agree to purchase at least 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years—a commitment of $20 billion at current rates—whether or not it could find people to buy them, according to people familiar with the matter."

It sounds like someone at the board meeting was screaming "Why don't we have an iphone on Sprint!!" and CEO Hesse responded and said "We looked into it and this is what it would take." Doesn't sound like an all in bet to me.

Virgin Mobile (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about 3 years ago | (#37594136)

So... does this mean Virgin Mobile will now offer iPhones to the pre-paid market?

more phones? no.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594138)

They dont need more/better phones. THEY NEED BETTER SERVICE. I would have stayed with sprints unlimited $129 family plan forever if they gave me coverage for my smart phones. Instead I paid my way out of their contract to be with verizons horrible 2gb/m cap, if for no other reason than to actually have service/3g coverage.

And guess what, i do. 0 buyers remorse to have consistently workable phone.

I'm in a quandry now... (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | about 3 years ago | (#37594156)

My contract with Sprint is up soon and I was debating new phones. So I suppose I can look forward to the following in the time to come:

1) An influx of Iphone 5 users saturating what is now a pretty decent network in my opinion, about to do what AT&T did when they got the Iphones in (aka fall flat on their back)
2) I'm a Droid user, and awfully curious as to how well Droid is going to be supported by Sprint down the line...will they still bother to carry Droids, is anything else besides Droid and Sprint even going to be an option (aka Windows Phone 7)?

I worry....

Why would Apple do this? (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 3 years ago | (#37594164)

I call shenanigans.

Apple has had no problems selling all the iPhones they can make - so what would they gain by doing this? It seems like, if anything, they'd lose potential income, given that Sprint would almost certainly be paying less than retail.

Re:Why would Apple do this? (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | about 3 years ago | (#37594280)

Sprint pays them extra for exclusivity while Apple ramps up production.

Re:Why would Apple do this? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 years ago | (#37594396)

Yes but it would have to be a lot of freaking money. Currently Apple sells 20M a quarter which is estimated to be $12B revenue/$3.6B in profit per quarter. Assuming the earliest AT&T/Verizon customers get their iPhone would be January 1, 2012 that's at least a quarter. I don't know how many lost/delayed sales that translates to but at 10% it's still $1.2B revenue/$360M profit. The other thing that doesn't make sense is the current rumor is the next iPhone is dual mode CDMA/GSM. So there would be no technical reason why they have exclusivity. If it was the iPhone 4 which comes in two different models so ramping up production of two different manufacturing lines isn't a problem.

Re:Why would Apple do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594296)

Sprint orders so much that Apple has insufficient manufacturing capability to guarantee enough phones to the other carriers. Since AT&T and Verizon don't want to look bad by offering such limited quantities, they opt for a later release date.

Just a crazy theory.

CAPTCHA: possible

Re:Why would Apple do this? (1)

ravenscar (1662985) | about 3 years ago | (#37594332)

I think Apple has a fair amount to gain here - if they are doing something creative.

Think of the introduction of the original iPhone. Apple negotiated an exclusive deal with AT&T in exchange for a share of the revenue AT&T received from the monthly contracts. Of course, AT&T hated that deal and got out of it as quickly as possible.

Sprint is just desperate enough to try something like that - expecially if they could pick up an exclusive version of the iPhone (perhaps a 4G version or a iPhone 5 as opposed to the 4S). I have no doubt that this would drive new customers to Sprint.

I think Apple likes the idea of revenues after the sale and I have a feeling that could be part of the deal.

Re:Why would Apple do this? (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about 3 years ago | (#37594476)

It only worked in 07 because smartphones were so very terrible, and the iPhone was the only decent one. The iPhone 5 is competing with itself and a truckload of Android phones, and someone who wants an ATT or Verizon smartphone already has options. Apple will just lose out on the upgraders, who will hold out rather than switch.

Re:Why would Apple do this? (1)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | about 3 years ago | (#37594462)

Maybe Apple simultaneously developed three iPhone 5s: one with WiMAX, one with LTE, and one with HSPA+? Maybe the WiMAX model came out of production first (why, who knows/cares)? Maybe Apple is taking advantage of the situation this way?

Re:Why would Apple do this? (2)

nine-times (778537) | about 3 years ago | (#37594492)

Well I have my doubts, but they may have a few reasons for doing this. First, it's possible that the specifics on this deal make it beneficial for Apple. Remember that it's not just about selling enough phones-- Apple's original deal with AT&T was supposedly the result, in part, of AT&T being willing to forgo AT&T branding, provide unlimited data plans, and to work with Apple on "visual voicemail". It may be that Apple has an unannounced feature that required carrier cooperation and Sprint was willing to cooperate.

Similarly, it may be that Apple decided that all iPhone 5 models should have 4G support, and only Sprint's 4G network was considered "ready". I don't know how what the current download speeds are that people are getting through WiMax, but it sounds like the HSPA+ networks really should be called 3G+. Verizon LTE is faster, but unfortunately current models using LTE suffer from short battery life. If WiMax is able to achieve superior real-world results, I could see Apple putting some weight behind it.

Meanwhile... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 years ago | (#37594270)

So Apple goes to ATT and says "Sprint's offered to buy 30 million iPhone 5s if we go exclusive with them, can you make a better offer?" ATT giggled to themselves and said "No thanks" Then promptly called a board meeting to discuss buying Sprint after their stock tanks sometime next year. They'll get all their subscribers and the Apple contract for less than the contract itself would have cost them.

I don't believe it, but here's why it's a bad idea (3, Insightful)

gabeman-o (325552) | about 3 years ago | (#37594460)

- BGR says that the exclusivity will only last until Q1 2012... very short lived for a $20bil investment
- No iPhone 4 users (except people who purchased out of contract) will even be able to switch without paying a hefty penalty, making it nearly impossible for Sprint to win over a good chunk of the current iPhone users. Why is this important? Many of these people are early adopters. Luring them to Sprint for a 2 year commitment would be a huge win for Sprint. My guess is that the market for the iPhone 5 is much bigger for those that already have an iPhone 4 than those who don't. Even if the exclusivity was for an entire year, it would be just in time for upgrade window and contract ending for the current crop of iPhone 4 owners.
- Sprint is a discount provider, along with T-Mobile. They really do not compete at the same level, in terms of service and coverage, as AT&T and Verizon. People are less likely to switch from AT&T & VZW to Sprint
- For the above 2 reasons, hitting the kind of sales that Sprint needs to make that commitment to Apple seems unlikely
- The article pegs the Sprint version as a WiMAX phone. Sprint has already said that their strategic direction for 4G is LTE. Why would Apple or Sprint invest $20 billion in a technology (soon to be) in decline?

If Sprint is indeed doing this, they are betting the farm on the iPhone 5. If I was a shareholder, I'd be concerned.

That doesn't look like much of a Volume discount. (1)

guidryp (702488) | about 3 years ago | (#37594610)

$655 each?? That is more than a 3G iPad at retail.

You would think with a volume of 30 Million+, you could get a a big volume discount.

I'm off contract soon... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 years ago | (#37594628)

Hey sprint, Give me 2 of the new iphones at $99.00 each and the same plan as AT&T but with less suckage in coverage and 3G as well as a $20.00 a month discount on the service for the 2 years and I'll switch right now.

I'll jump ship if you make it worth my time.

and THAT is what they will need to do. make it worth my time to risk a change for a 2 year lock in. I should pay less all the way around if you want my business.

Hmm, a Nextel iPhone (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 3 years ago | (#37594728)

Where's the PTT button?

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