Is Sprint’s “Wait-and-See” Strategy a Giant Mistake?

Joe Euteneur, CFO of Sprint

Sprint Chief Financial Officer Joe Euteneur recently revealed that Sprint Corp is embracing a “wait-and-see” strategy when it comes to BlackBerry smartphones. At the Goldman Sachs Communacopia, Euteneur explained that Sprint will not immediately follow the strategy of its rival, T-Mobile US. In an effort to keep major business clients satisfied with service, Sprint acknowledged that its focus will instead be on monitoring how the market continues to evolve.

One of the major differences between Sprint and T-Mobile is that while T-Mobile largely serves the consumer audience, Sprint is focused heavily on business professionals. This is why a wait-and-see approach could be beneficial before deciding to cut back on BlackBerry smartphones like T-Mobile, especially since it’s the device that business professionals tend to prefer. After all, larger network providers such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T continue to sell and promote BlackBerry devices in their stores.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

While CFO Joe Euteneur was thorough in his defense of Sprint’s strategy, the reality is that BlackBerry faces an uncertain future. With a loss of $965 million on $1.6 billion of sales in the second quarter, the loss reflects a continued downward trajectory for the device. Furthermore, the $1.6 billion in sales is a far cry from the $3 billion that analysts projected.

Similar to Pandora’s wait-and-see strategy, which led way to Spotify’s growth in the market, many are worried about Sprint’s strategy as BlackBerry shows continued signs of erosion.

So what’s an alternative that CFOs can employ to counter the wait-and see approach?

  • Transform. Instead simply recognizing change or implementing change through policy, CFOs must understand that transformation is critical in today’s rapidly evolving digital world. Transformation is critical for growth.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no. Employing the wait-and-see strategy is oftentimes the result of budget concerns or being afraid of an uncertain future. Sometimes it’s better to say “no” than avoid taking action as your competitors move ahead.
  • Play to your strengths. While it’s too early to determine the success of Sprint’s strategy, the company at least played to its strengths: business professionals. Similarly, focus on your company’s strengths instead of your competitor’s actions.