Ailing Sprint Needs Android Now More Than Ever

Featured Opinion Ailing Sprint Needs Android Now More Than Ever

The third largest carrier in the US is hurting.  Bad.  They’re watching customers jump ship left and right and they are almost unable to do anything about it.  Even their Simply Everything plan can’t stave off the exodus, with nearly 3 million subscribers leaving this year alone.

This has been a brutal PR week for Sprint, with 3 big blows coming in succession. Monday saw rumors of a 10% workforce layoff coming as early as next month.  With 57,000 employees working for the company, that would be an awful lot of people who wear black and yellow to work.

Yesterday brought the news that Sprint might be shuttering upwards of 20 of their call centers.  This is not what you want for the company who is ranked last in customer satisfaction for two years running.  You don’t want to use terms like “trim the fat”, but let’s hope they have a good sense for where to cut, rather than throwing darts.

Today, Moody’s debt rating agency downgraded Sprint to junk status citing “continuing challenges in turning around its wireless operations amid intense competition and weak economic conditions.” Yes, you can blame the economy for some things, but there’s a limit to consider.  Why aren’t the other providers hurting like this?

“The night is darkest just before the dawn.”    – Harvey Dent

We’re really pulling for Spring to turn things around.  Yeah, we give them a hard time here and there, but in reality, we want them to succeed.  If not for being a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, it’s for competition’s sake.  The more available options a customer has, the better.

Rich Miner is set to deliver a keynote address at this week’s Developer Conference.  Speculation, and hope, is that he’s there to talk about the first Android handset to come from Sprint.  With all of the hardware companies now lined up in the OHA, someone is bound to have something soon for their network.

While it’s true that one platform is not going to save the company, it certainly won’t hurt it.  As time passes, more companies, bloggers, and analysts are getting on the Android bandwagon.  Sony Ericsson, LG, Motorola, Samsung, and HTC are all capable of putting out some very good hardware.  Sprint could do well if any (or all) of those companies offered something Android flavored in 2009.

Sprint would be only the second carrier in the US to provide Android phones.  More importanly, they’d be a much larger carrier than T-Mobile.  If the handset design is right, it could go a long way to helping bolster Android and Sprint’s reputations.  There’s nothing wrong with adding a would be assassin or two to your lineup.  Let’s see what kind of “iPhone killers” the newly added Sony Ericsson and the rest of the OHA have.  And let’s see what it does for Sprint.

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