During their annual shareholders meeting, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said they're very happy with the iPhone, but admitted that it won't be profitable for the company until 2015. Sounds crazy, but Hesse says they're taking the long view, since offering the iPhone will stem the exodus of users going to other carriers just to get their hands on Apple's smartphone. Plus, iPhone users tend to be heavier data users, so that means bigger plans. (Or in Sprint's case, opting for the unlimited plan.)
Hesse had to take a bonus cut as a concession shareholders upset at the up-front cost of iPhones, but the future does actually look pretty bright. They've confirmed that they'll keep unlimited plans around for the next generation iPhone, even if it has LTE, and recent surveys show that Sprint customer satisfaction is pretty high.
That leaves another two and a half years of paying for their iPhone deal, which reportedly cost them $20 billion. Granted, they didn't have much success with either webOS or Android, despite the lower up-front costs, so it's still difficult to see a basis for the complaints -- other than shortsightedness.
There's also the not-so-small matter of Sprint's initial, WiMax based 4G rollout, which is hard to view as anything other than a failure. They're switching to LTE now, but they're behind AT&T and way behind Verizon, and it will take time and money to catch up, neither of which Sprint has in abundance.
When the next generation iPhone hits, presumably this fall, will unlimited data make up for the lack of Sprint LTE footprint? Or will even more customers go with Verizon's very wide, o
So the question is, how healthy is Sprint going to be looking in three years compared to Verizon and AT&T? Will the iPhone gamble pay off? And will they at least still be doing better than... T-Mobile?