Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 23, 2007
If we were searching for yet another proof that not all is well at Sprint Nextel, here it is: Today, IDC announced that Sprint no longer makes the most money per subscriber from wireless data services, like music and video. Verizon Wireless has outpaced Sprint for the first time. At Verizon Wireless, an average subscriber paid $7.27 a month for such services in the third quarter. At Sprint, this total came to only $7.15.
While the gap isn’t that wide, it’s certainly worrisome. For several years now, Sprint has been the undisputed leader in wireless data services: It was the first to introduce wireless video services to its subscribers, for example. Now, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that, while the company is focusing on integrating its Nextel acquisition, its focus on data is slipping. Already, Verizon Wireless will be the first to deploy MediaFlo, a wireless TV broadcasting service, to its subscribers this month. Sprint is still in mobile TV trials.
While Sprint used to be the first to introduce cool new phones to its subscribers, it was now among the last to make the Razr and other popular phones available to its users. Its line-up of music phones is, arguably, not as strong as some of the competition’s.
Sure, Sprint’s WiMax plans, such as introducing a single calling plan that can be used with multiple devices, sound very cool. But its large-scale WiMax deployment is almost a year away. Unless Sprint’s management focuses on wireless data now and starts catching up soon, it might be left behind. And then, even WiMax won’t save it.