CTIA SUPER MOBILITY 2015, LAS VEGAS: Sprint chief Marcelo Claure stressed the importance of its network performance as a way of differentiating from its rivals, while stating that its new “disruptor” role has produced “a fun year”.
“We did thousands of interviews [with customers], and we asked ‘what is it you really care about when you select a carrier?’ And people repeated three basic things: we want to make sure you have the right price, make sure you have the right product – which is the network – and make sure you give us a good customer experience,” he said.
“We expect to be the number one network or number two network in every major market in the next 24 months. That’s my job. In real estate its ‘location, location, location’. In this industry, it’s ‘network, network, network’,” Claure said.
“But people forget that to build a great network, you need spectrum. And there’s one thing that nobody can dispute – we have more spectrum than any other carrier on the planet,” he continued.
Among the executive’s first moves on being appointed to Sprint was a repositioning of the company as a T-Mobile US-style scrapper. “We spent the first year cutting AT&T or Verizon’s bills in half, which was fun. We’ve moved on today to offering all the DirecTV customers the choice to not be stuck with AT&T,” he said.
But he also pointed out that focusing on value need not necessarily impair the company’s financials. “Being a price leader with the ARPU of the US still makes us one of the highest ARPU companies in the world. So make no mistake, in this case we are very clear that we are going to continue to lead the industry from a pricing perspective.”
All this, he claimed, makes him “extremely confident” that Sprint will enjoy “one of the biggest turnarounds in telecom history.”
The Sprint CEO also highlighted how he is looking to position Sprint as a more open and entrepreneurial company.
“From a cultural perspective, Sprint is a company now that embraces partnerships, and we’re building a culture where employees are encouraged to take risks,” he said.
“One of the biggest learning lessons going from an entrepreneurial company like Brightstar to corporate America is that people are rewarded to not take risk, because if you take risk and you do bad, you get fired. We’re trying to change the culture so people come up with new ideas, and most of the things we do are coming from them,” he said.
“You can look at Sprint as a company that’s going to partner with traditional and non-traditional companies. And many of you sitting in the audience know that Sprint is looking for a number of disruptive companies to come and help us transform Sprint, and the future of Sprint,” Claure continued.
He cited work with UK-based retailer Carphone Warehouse in the retail space, and with Claure’s former company Brightstar on a device trade-in programme.
Claure has also been appointed vice chairman of the board of directors of CTIA, a US mobile industry trade association. Serving a one-year term starting from 1 January 2016, he joins (among others) Glenn Lurie (president and CEO of AT&T Mobility), Ron Smith (president and CEO of Bluegrass Cellular), and Jeff Miller (corporate VP, global sales at Motorola).