Technology

Sprint to face analysts soon amid merger speculation, unlimited plans and store closings

Overland Park-based Sprint plans to report its full year financial results and latest customer counts on May 3. Executives also may discuss the industry’s move to unlimited data plans, the loss of many stores Sprint shared with RadioShack and possible mergers among telecommunications companies.
Overland Park-based Sprint plans to report its full year financial results and latest customer counts on May 3. Executives also may discuss the industry’s move to unlimited data plans, the loss of many stores Sprint shared with RadioShack and possible mergers among telecommunications companies. mdavis@kcstar.com

Sprint will report its full-year financial results and latest customer counts May 3, and management will hold a conference call with investors and analysts.

The session will be the first since Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son said the Overland Park-based company’s parent firm could be a buyer or a seller in what is widely expected to be an effort to combine with another company. Son also is CEO of Tokyo-based SoftBank Group Corp., which owns more than 80 percent of Sprint’s shares.

Son had said in February that Sprint’s options go beyond a potential deal with rival T-Mobile USA, which he’d hoped to accomplish in 2014. Analysts have read Son’s remarks to mean that Sprint may consider ways it could combine with a cable company.

Even before Son’s comments, Sprint finance chief Tarek Robbiati had said that the company’s attitude toward a merger had shifted from “not in the cards” to “may be necessary to compete.” In recent years, T-Mobile has steadily gained customers at other national carriers’ expense and surpassed Sprint as the third-largest wireless operation.

The telecom industry has been awash in speculation about mergers and acquisitions even as a federal auction of airwaves licenses has kept the major players – Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Comcast and others – from talking with one another about such things.

The federal ban on these kinds of talks is expected to end April 19, according to BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure also may be asked about losing hundreds of stores that Sprint had shared with RadioShack, the industry’s move toward unlimited data pricing plans and the end of Sprint’s half-off rate plan promotions.

Sprint’s financial report will cover its fiscal year, which ended March 31.

Mark Davis: 816-234-4372, @mdkcstar

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