Sprint CEO Predicts Network Quality Will Be in Top Two by 2017

Sprint Corp. will have the No. 1 or 2 U.S. wireless network in terms of quality within two years, Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Claure said during a presentation at the Code Conference.

With Sprint’s vast airwave holdings and current projects to improve network coverage in cities and high traffic areas, the company will be a top competitor on service quality, Claure said on Wednesday. The CEO’s comments come days after he met with SoftBank Corp. executives in Tokyo, a potential sign that he has backing from his bosses. Sprint is controlled by SoftBank, which owns about 80 percent of the Kansas City, Kansas-based company.

Sprint is struggling to keep its status as the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier as smaller rival T-Mobile US Inc. keeps adding customers. To stop subscriber defections, Claure has introduced “cut-your-bill-in-half” promotions and accelerated network improvements in several cities.

Heavy operating costs and a cash burn have raised questions about Sprint’s finances. In its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended March 31, Sprint reported $914 million in negative free cash flow and $4.2 billion in available cash.