Sprint (S) has come up with an unusually clever new business. It has set up deals with 30 retailers to allow customers to compare and buy nearly seven million products over phones that work on its network. Sprint has about 50 million wireless customers.
The deal is good for the retailers because it gives them a completely new sales outlet. Jupiter Research estimates that wireless shopping will bring in revenue of $1.9 billion in 2010
According to Reuters "Spinet said it will not charge mobile users extra subscription fees for the service, but it will charge them for Web access." And data charges are becoming a big part of many consumer cellphone bills.
Sprint needs to get out of trouble, and this program may be a partial solution. It is adding very few new subscribers while its larger rivals AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless are growing each quarter. But, if Sprint can get a higher yield from each customer, added new ones become a bit less important.
With the launch of its WiMax network more than a year away and its stock down 20% over the last quarter, it needs a little magic.
It may have just gotten some.
Douglas A. McIntyre