As usual, I have to start by admitting that I am a Dan Hesse fan and my bell head nature feels for the team at Sprint.
The people who made this deal viable are long gone. When the taffy pull of Sprint and Embarq first occurred Dan went with Embarq. While I have no first hand insight, I remember my divestiture experience and all my ATT friends looking forward to being free of that local loop.
Sprint's network since the split has been an interesting mix of fixed line, Internet and Wireless. In theory it had the efficiency of the network behind it to make the company a lean mean fighting machine, but as my Dad used to say you think your are breaking up and in reality its a Taffy Pull.
Sprint and Embarq had OSS overlap and the company suffering from the digestion of Nextel could not find a strategy that equated to customer service.
Now we are going to see Ericsson manage the network, but the real question is what is the migration plan? I would assume iDEN is out for sure and the relationship with Clearwire should make for even more interesting navigation for Ericsson.
If Ericsson pulls this off it may also indicate some opportunities beyond the US market. Ericsson has been a lead integrator for Telefonica / 02 and it may be the Sprint asset gains some new relationships that way.
However the market has been hard on Ericsson, it used to be you could go into the executive offices of most Latin American PTTs and find swedish being spoken, thats how embedded Ericsson was. Today the question will be how does the commitment to 4G impact the Ericsson / Sprint network plans.
We are lucky to have keynotes at 4GWE
from both Clearwire and Sprint that can hopefully give us the insight we need as we watch the rollout continue.