Rising Apple iPhone subsidy costs force Sprint CEO Dan Hesse to take pay cut
has made a $15 billion commitment to the Apple iPhone. While adding the iconic smartphone to its lineup has helped the nation's third largest carrier add new subscribers, it comes at a high cost since Sprint subsidizes most of its iPhone sales. The carrier started selling the iPhone last October 7th and pays Apple a subsidy for each phone it sells that is 40% higher, or $200 more, than the subsidy it pays to manufacturers for other phones. In the most recently released quarter, Sprint sold 1.5 million units of the Apple iPhone and the device helped Sprint add 1.1 million new subscribers in the period to a company record 56 million customers.
1. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5470; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
dang! he almost could've bought an iPhone with that money he's paying. xD
2. Fluxman (Posts: 39; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)
I can see this as the beginning of the downfall of iPhone. The carriers will start to realize they don't make that much money from the iPhone, due to the high subsidies. Salesman will be instructed to push the more profitable Android and windows phones. Apple may start to lose some leverage and if they want to stay competitive, will have to buckle to the carriers and lower the subsidies or wither into obscurity...
4. 14545 (Posts: 975; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
Exactly. I've been saying for a while that I think this will sink sprint. Then the other carriers will wise up and bump the iphone down a peg or two. Cause it eats directly out of their bottom line. From what I've been told, and this is just from a rep at a store so it can be taken with a grain of salt, is that they pay like 5-600 for the iphone, where the typical droid/w7 phone only hits them with a 4-450 per phone. Then CNN wonders why VZW tries to push other phones. I would have my employees push the cheaper ones too. Especially when it can easily be sold as a better phone. The only thing that I can give apple is their displays. That, and maybe the fact that they are practically idiot proof.
11. Contreramanjaro (Posts: 152; Member since: 04 Dec 2011)
iPhones are really gaining popularity with the older crowd as far as I've seen. This is good for Sprint I think because older people seem to be more content with having an old iPhone. An example would be that my father uses an HTC Hero that he bought over two years ago. He takes perfect care of it and it runs as well as it did the day he bought it. He has no desire for a new phone. Using a whopping 300MB a month, this is a good profit for Sprint. I don't see the iPhone as a bad thing for Sprint because so many people are keeping their iPhones two or more years. Hell, so many people don't even update the software ever.
40. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)
I think you forgot the problem with Demand. If people still want the iPhone the carriers can't just "knock it down a peg or two." Remember when Verizon didn't have the iPhone and pushed Android like nuts? That didn't spot the main reason for porting out being the iPhone (they still gained far more customers than they lost).
There is no real answer for this. Both sides negotiate the final price the customer is presented, so I don't think they can lower the subsidy unles Apple and the carrier come to some agreement. Apple could lower their margin...but is Apple really going to do that if right now, their phones sell better than any other model?
Still, I wonder how Sprint couldn't see this coming. Are they just selling more iPhones than they expected? When they came forward witht he deal, they had to have figured we are going to sell X amount of iPhones and we will need X amount of capital to cover it. I also can't feel bad for a rich guy losing a few millions. hehe.
43. ibap (Posts: 669; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)
There is a very easy way for the carriers to "knock it down a peg or two". Let the price rise. As their contracts with Apple come to their end, if they all wised up and promoted the fact that there are easy interfaces on other phones as well, the 'demand' for the iPhone will in fact drop, or at least they won't have to be subsidizing them so much more heavily than other phones.
And I'm totally tired of "iPhone" being a substitute for the term "smart phone", which just demonstrates ignorance. This could be a loss of trademark issue. Too many people out there think "iPhone" means "smartphone" and they use the term that way. Apple can scream all they want at tiny competitors over trademark issues, but if it makes its way into the vernacular, they'll lose it. If they think that is a good thing now, they won't when the trademark is lost.
47. remixfa (Posts: 13901; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
the problem is that apple demands the phone be sold at a certain price, as well as selling it to the carrier at a higher than normal price. They have a lock down. If it wasnt for that, I bet you would see carriers start to inch up the iphone in price to reduce the subsidy hit.
When VZW didnt have the iphone, they still added more people than ATT when they had the exclusivity, so the iphone is not the end all be all. Its still stagnant to losing world wide marketshare, even with its increased availability. Selling it at a discount at walmart is a sign that they actually do care about marketshare and that they do see the downward trend continuing. Why else would they go from the snotty "if its not an iphone" campaign to selling for $100 at walmart?
51. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
Check up on Walmart. That price was a mistake and the iPhone is now selling at full price again
76. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)
I always felt the reason Verizon had a higher influx of subscribers is because for the majority of folks who didn't want a smartphone, Verizon offered a far superior network. Even when I worked for AT&T during the time fo the 3G, 3GS, and iPhone 4, the majority of the phones I sold were not smartphones until the very last few months. AT&T was quite frankly mocked for their terrible service, even by their customers...but if you wanted an iPhone, you had to go to them. So for folks who just wanted a basic or messaging phone, Verizon was a better bet and the same cost.
But you are right, the iPhone isn't the end all be all. I don't think it would be realistic for even Apple to think it would be given the way it does business. Android and WP7/8 can be made by any manufacturer. Many of those manufacturers put out multiple phones per year. Like Microsoft, it's inevitable that Android will have a higher use rate. If Apple didn't see that coming, I don't know what to think.
But although Android is more and more popular since there are so many of them out there, iOS is still incredibly popular as well. I'm not sure that carriers can really afford to just write it off and say, well we just won't offer the iPhone because we have Android. The numbers aren't quite that low and any company that did that would lose million of folks who won't use anything else. But still, something has to change. Apple doesn't have that 2007/2008 power it used to when it was the monolith of consumer smartphones.
I'll be honest, I'd like to see Apple cut prices a bit on a lot of its offerings. I know they like huge profits and the price also distingushes them from their competitors. But as much as carriers don't want to lose millions of subscribers...if one decides enough is enough, who's to say another may say the same a week later?
142. remixfa (Posts: 13901; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
somehow i missed your comment.
My thoughts have been that its a game of industry chicken over who will start to buck apples sales demands first. They all wanted the phone to stop any phone related churn, but no one wants the pricing structure.. its not good for them.
IF one of them ever gets the cahones to tell Apple that they either get in line with the other manufacturer's pricing or they get dropped, expect the rest to follow suite after their contracts are up. I just dont think anyone "wants" to be the first one and risk being left high and dry if the others dont follow suit.
Who knows, maybe they will try a program like T-Mobile's Value plan to try to even the cost playing field. I wonder how that would mess with their Apple contracts for pricing.
129. lsutigers (Posts: 615; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)
This is nothing more than Hesse trying to justify his decision to carry the iPhone to the Board of Directors. Sprint is selling alot of iPhones, specifically to new customers, which is good because that means a lot of people are jumping ship from other carriers to Sprint. However, those iPhones are costing the carrier a lot in subsidies, just like AT&T and VZW, and this move makes Hesse look like a hero. See, I told you it was a good idea to carry the iPhone and, on top of that, I will subsidize the phone with my paycheck.
120. Whodaboss (Posts: 166; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)
And people wonder why Sprint isn't going all out too support WP devices. It's because they have to recoup as much money on the iPhone. Why would they push another device when they know they have to make that iPhone deal work. But they sold their soul they just have to deal with it!
128. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 778; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
I have said this before, and I'll say it again Sprint is coming to the party too late. iPhone for 15 billion dollars is way to much of a price to have paid. Verizon is pushing Droid to offset selling iPhone subsidies. It's noble that Dan is giving up his bonus to share in the loss of revenue. He made a business deal and is taking responsibility for it going wrong.
In the end LTE and unlimited will help Sprint grow, but Verizon recognizes this and is trying to offer a 79.00 plan close to Sprint's plan to cajole Sprint users their way!
Sprint has unlimited, and if they use that, and get top tier phones a few quarters in a row they could win. They must shift focus to the windows phones, and other top phones, because I will leave before I had to buy an iPhone. I believe if they got top of the line phones to sell, and offered iPhone they could bleed away subscribers from other carriers once NV is rolled out in all markets.
130. lsutigers (Posts: 615; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)
I hear ya but they will be getting some nice Windows phones this Fall. Sprint and Verizon seem to be on the same page regarding WP. Since WP hasn't caught on at ATT and TMO, they are being cautiously optimistic. It's a big investment to carry a phone and market it properly.
17. Pdubb (Posts: 234; Member since: 08 Aug 2011)
i thought that Sprint pays for the phones so they push them to recoup some of the money they have already paid for the phone. That is why the carriers are so upset right now and looking for that other stand out phone so they can gain some leverage on Apple. Apple calls the shots right now. Do you think Samsung cut a $15 billion deal for the Galaxy?
18. kanagadeepan (Posts: 565; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)
Definitely Samsung won't cut a 15b$ deal for any Galaxy... The reason is Sammy is NOT as evil as Apple...
53. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
Yes because Samsung isn't in this to make money. They just want to provide you with cheap phones.
55. jbash (Posts: 339; Member since: 07 Feb 2011)
thats the first time i gave taco a thumbs up
58. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Not cheap but allsorts
64. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
It's was sarcasm. According to the latest data Samsung makes 20% of smartphone profits while HTC, Motorola, LG etc all lost money. I guess that means Samsung is greedy and has overpriced products. They made more profit than all other android OEM's combined. Time to buy from a company that loses money so you know you're not overpaying.
66. remixfa (Posts: 13901; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
Samsung also outsold apple, while only making 1/5th of apple's profits.
oh.. wait.. samsung outsold apple.. doesnt that mean u should be self exiled? liar.
112. ngo2dd (Posts: 754; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)
Outsold apple in Smartphone sell. Samsung has a hell lot more model out there. Stop being dumb, Samsung has like what 15 or 16 model of smart out maybe more.
132. androidsbiggestfan (Posts: 76; Member since: 09 Aug 2011)
I don't normally say anything, but you really jacked up bad this time you troll. You say HTC lost money, try again, they had a net income of $151,356,000 after taxes. Try to back your way out of this after you review from HTC directly. http://www.htc.com/www/investo
134. wendygarett (unregistered)
HTC just want to be HONEST to their investor...
he really lost a lot of money eventhough he get a huge income... he just want to show how strong the competitor is facing
110. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)
cheap quality phones? yes...samsung makes those too
122. remixfa (Posts: 13901; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
sad fact is that this jacko keeps forgetting that samsung makes most of the iphone as well. so yea, cheap phones.. woot. they save all the good stuff for their own models.
60. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Much TRUe said....
Apple a company will never has sponsored
On anything... They will drain blood out
131. lsutigers (Posts: 615; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)
Do you really think Samsung is that noble of a company...they would do it in a heartbeat if they could. Problem is they have that little thing called competitors to worry about.
49. thedarkside (Posts: 639; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
verizon loses a dollar everytime an iphone is purchased. a dollar may not seem like much, but when verizon is pay $650+ for an iphone, than can only drop the price to what apple says, and on top of that loses another dollar. that money adds up. plus apple makes all there own prices, so the iphone, unless its an older model, wouldnt ever drop in price.
69. Mr.Verizon (Posts: 20; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)
To give you all an example, we currently pay 659.00 for a 16gb iphone 4s white or black. The droid razr maxx costs 629.99 and sells to the customer for $100 more than iphone. Thats a $130 swing and thats not including the commission payback from verizon which... you guessed it, they pay more for android sales than iphone so its around a +170ish change for that example. If apple was really really smart, they would make 3 different models of iphones. Keyboard, 4g, low end, and reduce the costs to carriers... they would probably sell another 20-30 million in north america alone (including canada). But they do have this sort of "we know what people want better than you" ingnorance and while they do have some good crushing numbers. There is a reason android owns so much market share..... its called "Choices". If apple had more, then i'd honestly have to say they'd have majority market share.
80. axllebeer (Posts: 250; Member since: 05 Apr 2011)
If this trend continues, assuming the new BB 10 platform is as all that it is claiming that it will be, I could see carriers starting to push those new handsets more so than the iPhone. RIM has a history of building good relationships with carriers in the past and this may plug some holes in the BlackBerry ship and ever drain some water out of it. There are those that swear by the iPhone and those that are just coming into the smartphone world for the 1st time. With the incoming push of Windows Phone, and the possibilities soon to arrive with BB10, Apple might finally take a hit as carriers will have devices to push that are more profitable to them. And if if it were your company loosing $, wouldn't you try to sell a product that makes you more money?
116. sithman (banned) (Posts: 299; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
So how will this be the downfall then? Apple is not a stupid company, they know what they're doing. They're in the position they're in for nothing. They r a top notch company, that knows how to stay that way.
121. vincentguariglia (Posts: 13; Member since: 28 Apr 2012)
Salesman are already pushing the more profitable phones over iPhones. Most places don't pay commissions for iPhone sales.
133. Forsaken77 (Posts: 542; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)
Sprint doesn't make much off the iPhone, but Verizon and especially AT&T make huge money off it. Because AT&T was the only company that offered the iPhone for so long, so many people flocked to them because, at the time, it was the only real smartphone out. So they got a huge influx of subscribers and most never left. But I think Sprint made a huge mistake with that deal with Apple. Sprint was already losing money left & right, then they go and do this deal that basically putts the nail in their coffin? Dan Hesse shouldn't be getting 3 million in bonuses (not including his normal salary) because he's dug Sprint deeper into the ground than ever before. I live in NY, Long Island, and my sister and her husband have Sprint. They can't wait till their contract expires so they can switch. I was even gonna buy her a new Galaxy Nexus from Sprint for her birthday but she said no cause they didn't want to extend their contract any longer. Sprint offers unlimited data but what good is it if it's faster to drive around a neighborhood looking for an open wifi signal? Let's just get the AT&V duopoly over already.
3. AndroidShiz (Posts: 145; Member since: 08 Nov 2011)
If Apple is on your carrier, then Apple is the reason why everyone's cell phone bill is astronomical no matter what smart phone you use.
52. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
Too bad cell phone plans have dropped drastically since 2007
6. joey18 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jul 2010)
This to bad apple are overprice so sprint dont need the iphone needs to bring more android phones 2 years w the iphone everthing are over price apps cables head phones insurence the sprint iphone dont run over 3g only 2g h slow less people buy the iphone apple will go for make more cheap prices some people complaint the samsung galaxy cheap plastic but is better then iphone
7. Contreramanjaro (Posts: 152; Member since: 04 Dec 2011)
What the hell did you just write? There are many things wrong with your statement but by your lack of skill in English I'm going to ask that you either clarify or not comment. This may seem a little harsh but you didn't even use a period. Rules in language are there to help with clarity.
9. AndroidShiz (Posts: 145; Member since: 08 Nov 2011)
Oh my gosh! I'm dying over here with tears! I was like the Hulk having a baby with Snookie makes more sense than this guy. I'm assuming he ain't using Google translate.
85. thedarkside (Posts: 639; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
we had to go with the hulk? he would never have sex with snooki... come on now!!!
14. djg71087 (Posts: 70; Member since: 10 Oct 2010)
hahahahaha!!!!! i can't believe what i just read...
21. bvalde09 (Posts: 171; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
@joey18 I didnt understand anything at all. Comment below thumbs up LMFAO
31. Phullofphil (Posts: 798; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)
I understood it only because I type like that to. Leave the poor guy alone I am typing good right now only cause I am on my big tablet. On my phone it gets bad some times. What's weird is if you just read through it fast you can fill in the blanks yourself. I learn that if you read enough forums and coment sections it's a prerequisite.
44. ibap (Posts: 669; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)
Another example of what is wrong with touchscreen keyboards and the difficulty of editing what one writes on them. I just read about a new editing approach for iPads, but it is unclear if Apple will adopt it. They'd have to admit the current scheme is so bad that many people simply don't edit. Like the guy that wrote the piece at the top of this string. Either that or he was stoned. Or both.
8. AndroidShiz (Posts: 145; Member since: 08 Nov 2011)
No, that is a man who is scared crapless over the possibly of losing his job. The iPhone literally is like eating forbidden fruit, looks tasty, but inside it's full of worms, and certain death... of your company.
46. ibap (Posts: 669; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)
Also symptomatic of how far out of whack CEO salaries are. He probably won't notice the difference.
12. AndroidShiz (Posts: 145; Member since: 08 Nov 2011)
Hey man, I don't know what you wrote, but you might as well give yourself a thumbs down and go see what's playing on Netflix.
22. AndroidShiz (Posts: 145; Member since: 08 Nov 2011)
Dwayne Meighan reporting live from Stoolbend.
23. Lousclues (Posts: 29; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
Don't mind these guys man. They're just trying to clown you to look cool. I understood what you said. Then again, I'm not stupid so who knows lol
32. Phullofphil (Posts: 798; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)
I will translate......it's to bad apple is overpriced, sprint don't need the iPhone. They need more android phones. 2 years with an iPhone contract sucks cause all there accessories are over priced. Such as there apps(actualy there cheap), but cables, headphones, insurence and so on cost to much. The sprint iPhone only runs not on 3G but 2g( I think he means it's slow or somthing) blah blah I understood the rest but the only thing of use was I guess the Samsung galaxy is cheap plastic but he likes it better than the iPhone. I guess I speak gibberish. This was suposed to be in reaponce to coment 6
45. ibap (Posts: 669; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)
Yet another example of how bad touch screens are and how people don't edit what they end up with. Even this explanation is full of bad spelling and grammar.
50. thedarkside (Posts: 639; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
that is the longest sentence i've ever read.
10. PC_Surgeon (Posts: 7; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)
He should be taking a pay cut and using those funds to fix their horrid service. Nothing could make me go back to sprint. Not even if the iPhone was exclusive to them. Reason? When it takes 2-3 minutes to load a web page with only text its time to throw the phone out with the carrier. Simply disgusting service. Bye.
13. Contreramanjaro (Posts: 152; Member since: 04 Dec 2011)
This is actually what is happening. They are doing network upgrades and calling it Network Vision or something similar. Go to network.sprint.com to see how many updates they're doing. I think it looks rather ambitious for a company losing so much money. Also, I'd like to point out that spectrum and congestion are going to very soon be a bigger issue all around. Sprint has at least one thing going for them, spectrum. But that's a hope for the future more than anything.
34. Phullofphil (Posts: 798; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)
Spectrum thing is a scam. LTE was suposed to cure that problem or so they said but there Verizon is saying they are running out soon. It's not true. Or there claims about LTE are false. My galaxy nexus gets 25 megabytes a second down load but I am yet to down load an actual file that fast. It takes me five seconds sometimes to download a 5 or less megabyte app or song.
42. dmckay12 (Posts: 242; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)
I think that you have your math wrong. I believe that you are referring to Mb (the most likely unit) as your download speed rather than MB (what you said). 8 Mb=1 MB (about). If this is true, then 5 seconds is understandable when leaving time for the download to begin and be processed.