However the reality is the losses to the iPhone are proportionately less than Verizon has suffered. It may be for a few reasons. First of all Sprint may have a good understanding that its customers base is price sensitive.
The long tail of the iPhone is only a long tail for a specific segment of the market.
The prepaid services of Boost and Virgin Mobile are probably a case of eating your own young, but it seems to be keeping them in the same tent. However this migration impacts the profit margin harder.
The acquistion of Virgin Mobile also represents an impact on the botton line, since being the supplier was more profitable than being the service.
Richard Branson like so many other entrepreneurs has found telecom to be as bad a market as the airline industry, which may be why his efforts for green technology are not particularly network oriented.
On the other side of the equation the eating of their young via Clearwire and the outsourcing to Ericsson indicate a desire to get to the right price points to compete in the market. I think there are opportunities for continued consolidation and Sprint may find new growth in wholesale services and machine to machine markets. Remember its Sprints WhisperNet that supports the Amazon Kindle.
Additionally, Sprint's relationship with Ericsson may provide a more logical migration strategy to LTE from CDMA.
So this may be downside of the U for Sprint may be near.
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