New Sprint CEO says plan price drops come first, then network improvements

Sprint's new CEO Marcelo Claure has only been on the job four days now, but has already called an all-hands meeting to lay out his first initiatives at the head of the carrier. The new Chief Executive, who was previously on the Sprint board and running his company Brightstar (which is also owned by SoftBank), laid out a pretty stark and clear path for where he sees Sprint moving in the coming months.

His first plan of action is to simplify and lower plan costs across the board at Sprint, recognizing that its "Framily" plans haven't been popular and are tough to sell to consumers. He also understands that the carrier is charging too much considering the quality of its network. "We're going to change our plans to make sure they are simple and attractive and make sure every customer in America thinks twice about signing up to a competitor," said Claure, indicating that price changes are coming as soon as next week. (Could that be the upcoming Sprint 'Take the Edge Off' event?)

The next plan of action for Claure is to improve Sprint's network, which has had a rocky path to improvement as it transitioned from 3G to WiMax and now onto LTE, dumping iDEN in the process. He said that the network improvements have taken too long, and he recognizes that popular opinion of Sprint's network is not positive. He hopes to leverage Sprint's large spectrum holdings, which is something it only recently started to do with its new Spark LTE technology.

The third pillar of Claure's plan is to start cutting costs around Sprint. While it isn't necessarily a fun topic to address your employees about, Claure expressed that job cuts will be a necessary part of pulling Sprint out of the red eventually. He reiterated that he thinks that Sprint has some of the best employees around, and with the incoming changes they'll have even better tools to work with to make Sprint a better carrier all around.

It's going to be a long road to recovery for Sprint, and changes that Claure begins to put into motion now may take several months or years to move the carrier in the right direction. He's certainly saying the right things right now, but executing those ideas is the tough part.

Source: Light Reading

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

222 Comments
  • They have the coverage. Now to get the speeds up to par. While mine our fine, others aren't. Which is a stark contrast to TMo. They have the good speeds, but their coverage is severely lacking.
  • Its funny how Verizon has truly great coverage, but their LTE speeds suck (in my market) compared to AT&T, about 1/3 of what AT&T can offer. Just embarrassing.
  • what the heck city do u live in I get 40mbps consistently on Verizon Posted via Android Central App
  • I agree with raptor. I have Verizon and the speeds I get range so widely that I never know what I will get from one moment to the next. Usually its around 3mbs but sometimes I get 20mbs. Its inconsistency that hurts Verizon. Also they are not cheap. T-Mobile in SW Florida is great by the way...
  • Sprint in Houston Texas keeps me happy. But this guy knows his stuff.
    The only reason I'd leave Sprint is for a cheaper plan on T-Mobile.
    And since Sprint is going to do some serious price cuts and plan reorganizations, I'm in love again. Posted from my "KNOX-FREE" 4.3 Sprint GS3 Maxx...!!! (PREPAID)
  • You must have missed the apology to the people of New York. Verizon has some known and admitted problems with traffic on their network in certain congested areas. Look it up. It's been posted here. Posted via Android Central App
  • Carriers are area dependent and some areas for Verizon are saturated and have very slow LTE speeds.
  • I always had great coverage with att. Verizon is too expensive, I guess they have lte in my area now. Sprint has lte too. Tmobile has 2g.... Well once tmobile finishes lte rollout, there should be lte in my area. Posted via Android Central App
  • You do realize that Verizon and AT&T plans are almost the same right? In most cases you may save about $5 with AT&T. Posted via Android Central App
  • LOL 5$ difference in price from Verizon to Att Posted via the Android Central App
  • My previous job I had Verizon and between bouncing in and out of 4G all day and dropping calls I was never really that impressed. Speeds were usually around 5-14mbps. I'm using Sprint as my personal phone and I consistently get 30mbps on LTE, and my work phone is now AT&T, which surprisingly has less 4G coverage than my Sprint phone. I use the OpenSignal app on both to compare. AT&T is only connected to 4G less than 50 percent of the time compared to my Sprint phone connected to 4G around 80 percent of the time.
  • I live in Austin, TX. I work from home and my employer provides me with a hot spot, in case my internet ever goes down. Unfortunately, it's a Sprint hot spot, which means I have to put it in a certain spot in my home office (which took me quite awhile to find) before it even gets reception, and even then, it constantly bounces back and forth between 300kbps and 15mbps. And my company refuses to use anyone other than Sprint :(
  • Can't help but laugh at Sprint and their plight. Say goodbye to Sprint they are a typical farce in the carrier game today. It's pretty much plain and simple nothing beats Tmobile period they are the carrier game today nothing else matters. From my Galaxy Note 3 on T-Mobile via Android Central App
  • Um no. Coverage matters and T-Mobile doesn't have it for large parts of the country and in many places they are still EDGE. Posted via Android Central App
  • Says the guy who said Sprint could do no wrong before he jumped bandwagons.
  • Here I was thinking I was the only one who remembered haha
  • Yep
  • I don't say Sprint can do no wrong, but still say TMobile doesn't have the coverage
  • Unless, richardyarrell, you care about network coverage and voice quality.
  • I actually had worse call quality with Verizon. I left T-Mobile and tried them out .. many times people told me I sounded like a robot .. so back to T-Mobile I went.
  • T-Mobile is fine if you get coverage. They are not good for a huge portion of the country though.
  • So when are you getting that T-Mobile tattoo. Posted via Android Central App
  • Him and Jon Legere have matching ones.
  • What is "carrier game"? That sounds so stupid.
  • +1 AC every day
  • Oh yeah. That's the game where the carriers fill their pockets and the consumers get screwed. Why anyone rallies behind these corporations is beyond me. ಠ益ಠ
  • TMobile amazing--WOW? How did it feel when Dish wanted to buy someone and tried to get Sprint first. Then considers a partnership and says an agreement with Sprint would be preferred......and after all that considers hooking up with TMobile. TMobile is so great but it is the person you ask to the prom after you get turned down by someone else. It must feeling amazing.
  • says the flip flopper Posted via the Android Central App
  • This guy (Marcelo Claure) is just doing what every new manager/ceo etc has done since time started. Coming in fresh and saying, "Some things gonna change around here, and I have some great ideas." Then in the end nothing really happens. The only thing that will change public opinion is an actual better network data wise. (voice has always been good) Paying less for crappy network just makes sense and wont really woo customers since competition between carriers is virtually non existent price wise.
  • Jon Legere said the same thing and he made big changes so let's give Sprint's new ceo a chance. Posted via HTC One on Sprint
  • They got the best Airave coverage in my house. Posted from my LG LS970 via "The Force"
  • Exactly opposite in my area, Phoenix AZ. We have excellent coverage, speed,and building penetration with tmobile ,where as Sprint had holes in it'd coverage like swiss cheese and lousy building penetration. Overall I think T-Mobile has easily surpassed sprint in city coverage, but T-Mobile is best by sprint only in rural coverage. Posted via the Android Central App
  • how about network first, price drops second. (coming from a resident of the 4th biggest city in Minnesota with a metro pop of 279,711 who has LTE on every other carrier.) Posted via the Android Central App
  • He can snap his fingers and the plans pricing will drop. The same can't be said about the network. It takes time. If your carrier isn't meeting your needs right now you should probably look elsewhere.
  • Aye, but it is hard to improve the network without funds. BUT, if customers aren't coming in you don't have money anyway. Crap situation, but a deserved one. 
  • I live in Fridley mn and travel to Hopkins for work daily. I'm on LTE 95% of the time. Maybe you should have someone take a look at your phone. I'm very pleased with the LTE coverage today compared to 5 months ago. I am using the M8
  • What some people don't understand is some areas have great coverage and some have lousy. Where I live none of the carriers have good coverage and its just a few block radius too. So before you tell people to have their phones looked at because YOU get good coverage in YOUR area, remember his area is different from yours.
  • Wow... The comment wasn't negative. He was simply offering a suggestion. Sometimes the phone can be to blame for bad reception.
  • Duluth isn't the same story, AT&T has HSPA+ and LTE, same with T-Mobile, and Verizon has had LTE for years and now XLTE. Sprint is still on EV-DO. Posted via the Android Central App
  • When did we get LTE on T-Mobile? That must be pretty new as this is the first I've heard of it. Where I live (on the hill by the mall) I got EDGE the last I checked. Have they fixed any of the coverage holes yet? Of course Sprint didn't work here at all the last I checked. Posted via Android Central App
  • I have patches of LTE all over the place, it seems to be popping up near the intersection of west tischer & arnold road pretty often. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good point! My Galaxy S3 and LG G3 were not set up for LTE when I got them. I was getting crappy speeds and finally called Sprint, boom I got LTE. It was the network settings. You would think that it would be LTE ready from the get go! I live across the river from you in Brooklyn Center and I agree with that Sprint is better now.
  • In Chicagoland you can get unlimted days for only $50 on a single line on Sprint. My guess is it was a test for what's to come. That maybe enticing for some, but I jumped ship for T Mobile as my work pays my bill and I don't care how much they pay. Posted via Android Central App
  • You should care how much they pay. As long as you get a pay check that is all that matters. Right? Posted via Android Central App
  • You'd be terribly upset to see how many more clients and colleagues show up to events they know the company is paying for. I fly or ride 1st class/business class and go to the fanciest restaurants I can whenever I travel for business. Come off of it already :) Stick it to the man! Now if you work for a small business that's another story.
  • What I want too know is will this include existing subscriber plans, or new subscribers? Posted via Android Central App
  • All i know is nobody in the company except the very top of the food chain knows anything at this point. But from what I can tell it will be across the board, to reduce churn. Because of the severe subscriber loss of Q2 they're going to fix plans for everyone.
  • That's the way the story reads. But should be interesting to see what happens. Posted via Android Central App
  • Yea, carriers have a bad habit of rewarding new subscribers only and do nothing to keep loyal customers from switching. It's almost like they want you to bounce around, as that is the only way to get a deal.
  • Personally, I disagree. I am on Sprint, but have been wanting to find something cheaper since my family's cell phone bill is one of the most expensive bills we have. Not to mention that although I get decent LTE service in most parts of my city, I barely get any data signal inside the building I work in. If the prices were lowered, I would be more likely to deal with not having signal at work for a little while until they get the network upgraded. Otherwise, I have been seriously considering trying to find something cheaper. Cell companies charge WAY too much as it is and people are flocking to T-Mobile now that they are cheaper. That is why Sprint needs to do the same. People can use any extra pocket change they can get.
  • Sprint will do anything to avoid upgrading their network, now they are paying their customers to stay.
  • You don't read much do you? Unless you've been living under a rock they are in progress with a complete network revamp. Why is it so hard for people to understand that replacing the entire legacy equipment at 39k+ sites nationwide with new backhaul, radios, antennas, base stations, etc takes time?
  • Actions speak louder than words. People will believe it when they see actual results. Until then Network Vision is just a marketing term. Posted via Android Central App
  • Except in the several hundred areas which have been upgrades already. Try actually getting some facts before you post.
  • ^^^this^^^
    In Vegas we had shit fot lte 8 months ago. Now you can look at the coverage maps and see it saturated. I'm no sprint fanboi and on many an occasion I have wanted to throw my phone at the wall because I couldn't stream something. But they have made some decent upgrades and I'm gonna give em' a few more months to come through. Posted via Android Central App
  • Well I have network vision all around me, so I guess its real.
  • I saw actual results so I believe it. It's time consuming and expensive. "Network Vision" is almost as retarded as "Framily" as far as marketing buzzwords go but it doesn't change the fact that the upgrades are happening and you can actually share plans and split bills.
  • At least Duke Nukem Forever was released after being vaporware for over a decade. What's Sprints excuse in my area? I've been on Airave ever since they kicked me off Nextel. At least my old armoured Nextel phone that I had for over ten years had a signal here. Posted from my LG LS970 via "The Force"
  • Yep! Exactly! Posted via the Android Central App
  • While the fact that they have a massive network upgrade to do does explain why the upgrades are going so slow. It does not excuse it. Their upgrades are slow because they didn't prepare for upgrades down the road.
    Look at how fast T-mobile deployed LTE to almost all of it's urban footprint. They could do it because they were prepared for it. I'm not loyal to any company in the long run, I stick with what works and is a good deal at the time, because I know any of the carriers would screw me over for a dollar.
    What I say is T-mobile is doing the best for me now, that's what matters. I know the coverage doesn't work for everyone, but I virtually never leave their LTE footprint and the slowest speed I get is like 8mbps and I've seen up to 65mbps, I won't hang onto any carrier for promised network upgrades I go where the best service and price combo currently is and right now that's T-mobile by a longshot.
    I don't see that changing anytime soon
    Btw I'm strictly prepaid partly because of this logic, I don't want to be locked into any of these carriers.
  • "Takes time"? Hmm...how many YEARS has Sprint been working on this "network vision"? And how many YEARS did it take to finally shut down the Nextel network to free up the spectrum? T-Mobile shut down MetroPCS quite swiftly, not in the scope of many YEARS! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I left Sprint after 15 years, not because the pricing was an issue, but because they could not fix major issues with text messaging on their network. Combined with very, very poor 3G speeds and a miserably slow and painful LTE rollout, there was just no reason to stay anymore. Switched to TMobile and paying less even with no special discounts and speeds are amazing. 3G coverage on TMobile is not as good as Sprint, but 1/2G is... and data was usually so unreliable and slow on Sprint that it felt like 1/2G anyway... so have I really lost anything? Sprint had great customer service, great selection of phones, reliable voice coverage, reasonable pricing.. it was ultimately the network that ruined it for me. Rather than getting better each year, it got progressively worse and worse. Even after LTE FINALLY came here, within months it was slow and unreliable and simple text messaging was still a mess. The ONLY thing I dislike about TMobile is them spamming me with text messages from "456" which I have asked repeatedly to stop and even mailed a physical letter. Still will not stop. I don't need to be "reminded" when to pay my bill or when a payment is posted- I do not need to be treated like an irresponsible person (I have a near perfect credit rating) nor an idiot. OTHERWISE, their customer service has been great and I love having no contract and not being penalized for it. For me, TMobile + a Nexus 5 is a hard combination to beat.
  • Too long didn't read Posted via Android Central App
  • Sprint didn't work for him after 15 years, went to t-mo, doing ok except T-mo thinks he has a problem keeping track of his bills and spams him with texts messages.
  • LoL thanks for that. Posted via Android Central App
  • Sprint sucks. End of story. Posted via Android Central App
  • HAHA thanks i really didn't want to read either
  • Lol ! Me too! Posted via Android Central App
  • (Amir) Too stupid, don't care.
  • I read the whole thing man. Delivered by the Nexus 5 or the mighty Surface Pro 3
  • Dedication. I like it.
  • I'm on Cricket, and they have the sam stupid issue with text messages. Yes, assholes, I know that my bill is due in a few days, and you know that I know, because I'm on auto pay and have been since I signed up. Also, I think if I were on T-Mobile, I'd ditch my N5 for a carrier phone. Wifi calling is a big deal, and they can't offer that on a Nexus device. Posted from my Nexus 5, behind seven proxies
  • Well, they probably COULD offer it on a Nexus device, but they choose not to. I personally don't care about WiFi calling, though.
  • People that want Wi-Fi Calling, get Grove IP and Google Voice #. Posted from my "KNOX-FREE" 4.3 Sprint GS3 Maxx...!!! (PREPAID)
  • That's on Google isn't it? They do all the software for Nexus Posted via Android Central App
  • Your story is the same as mine, although I still have not canceled my Sprint line yet. I love T-Mobile in the city; however, as many have stated, their rural service is much to be desired. Great story. I had downloaded my new insurance prescription cards as PDF and was next in line at the pharmacy. I went to open them and noticed my Nexus 5 did not have a PDF viewer on. I downloaded Adobe from the Google Play store in seconds and had it up just as I was called in line. If this was Sprint, it would respectfully have to go to the back of the line because it would take too long to download. Downside, I noticed that T-Mobiles signal will go from full bars LTE or HSPA+ or even Edge to no bars very quickly. With Sprint I had a good idea I was going out of a cell in a rural area. But there seems to be more of a cutoff with GSM.
  • Network improvement should come first, and come along with network improvement. That is going to lure in more customers than just dropping the prices. That is why TMO has been so successful. They combine lower prices and network expansion, it can't just be one and then the other, they need to both occur close to one another.
  • There is no denying that their current pricing and their network quality do not match. As a Sprint customer, I would much rather have my plan rates lowered drastically to compensate, at least a little, for the poor management up to that point, and as a gesture of goodwill that things actually can and will be changed. Add a transparent, definitive rollout plan with clear milestones and they will likely recover faster than T-Mobile did relatively speaking. Honestly, their coverage isn't a problem, they just need to accelerate their speed boosts and they will easily eclipse T-Mobile's network.
  • As has already been said, there's no way to instantly upgrade the network. It is possible to instantly reduce prices. Yes, they should try to speed the deployment, but it will still take time. A for T-Mobile, their network is still greatly lacking in many locations. It's taking them time to roll out the upgrades, too.
  • The CEO did not say we will lower prices and then fix the network... or did I miss something? It's a poor title and you are commenting on a bad premise. Do you really think they are putting the network upgrade on hold, WOW IT WOULD ONLY BE A FEW DAYS, until they change pricing. Really? I'm asking, did I miss something?
  • At this point it's too late. Sprint has been promising more coverage/better speeds for years. I guess their strategy is just to keep people hanging on. "We'll lower prices, p-please stay with us!" And then change from Wi-Max to LTE to Spark to something else and have 4 different technologies in the same places while most of the U.S. is still on 3G. It shouldn't even be called 3G it should be called 1G, or mostly no Gs. Or even bits per hours. I switched and couldn't be happier. But I'm sure people in their LTE coverage are doing a lot better than the vast majority without.
  • They aren't changing from LTE to spark, they're adding spark to LTE.
  • Doesn't matter, he knows not of what he speaks
  • IMo He knows exactly of what he speaks. I pay $80 per month for speeds of, at best, .8 mbps. Yeh, that's point eight. I am so sick of Sprint I will leave ASAP. I am tired of "By the end of the summer. By the end of the year." There is no TM here so it will be Verizon. My friend sits there and gets 24 mbps and I sit fifteen feet away and get point two. I figure Sprint owes me money.
  • Then you should switch then. If a company is not working for you, you should switch. Posted via Android Central App
  • Get off it then, like I did, then come back when it's good. Like I did.
  • Pay my ETF for me and I will gladly leave.
  • pretty sure that if you were so anxious to go, there have been several opportunities for you to do so. T-slow has put it out there at least once this year (I am not sure if it is still an option) that they would pay your ETF
  • I am speaking of his technology spiel. Woman was necessary, LTE is spark, and we all know what is next Posted via Android Central App
  • Lol 'woman was necessary' autocorrect you devious bitch you.
  • Well at least it was right in most cases...lol Obviously that was WIMAX lol
  • Spark IS LTE.
  • And Sprint IS providing better coverage / speeds. I get LTE almost everywhere, even though my area isn't officially rolled out, and I haven't hit a dead spot in coverage in years. I just love how all these people who don't use Sprint think they know what the network is like. Ignorance apparently makes life very simple.
  • I've been with them for over a decade. I plan on leaving this Sep/Oct. I'll take a hit for early cancellation, but I am so tired of their crappy network.
  • i'd wait for Nexus 6 and combine it with BYOD prepaid AT&T GoPhone. prob end of October. never sign another contract again.
  • as much as i hate sprint ... i dont want sprint to go away the more competition the better for the consumer i kinda have to agree they need network upgrades to keep people but on the other hand i can see why he wants to low prices to help keep people around
  • Sprint brings no competition. neither does blackberry. let them both die and let a new player come in and compete.
  • Hey man, Sprint pays my bills, let them live a little longer til I move up a little bit more then transfer to some other company haha.
  • They couldn't buy T-Mobile in order to be competitive, so they had to do what T-Mobile did: actually compete.
  • Dan Hesse really drove this company into the ground even further than it was when he took over. Hesse and Peter Chou of HTC share the top spot of my CEO Hall of Shame.
  • some serious truth here !!
  • Gary Forsee before Dan Hesse. I've never seen CEO's make repeatedly disastrous decisions like that pair. The new CEO is right. Get your pricing right for the product you are selling NOW. Make a better product then get your prices back up. If you come to KC, I can drive you to two locations within 1 mile of the Sprint Campus where you'll drop calls. Everytime.
  • Dan Hesse really did screw things up. He got the iphone on the network but paid over 20 billion to do it which apple really reamed him. He should have used that money to upgrade the network and later gotten the iphone. It didn't do what he hoped, they're still loosing customers like crazy. He went WiMax instead of going straight to LTE which cost a lot of money. I'm glad he's gone and hope the new CEO can clean things up.
  • Hesse did what we call "shit the bed."
  • The reason Sprint went for WiMax is because they were gonna lose that spectrum so it was use it or loose it. Thanks to that WiMax Spectrum we have 2.5