It’s a story of people who are “familiar with the matter” and a struggling network getting its stuff together in the face of mounting competition, financial burdens, new ownership and the tasks of cutting losses and cuts and making gains. And it started at the top of Sprint back in 2014, when Marcelo Claure took the helm as CEO.

Claure himself contracted several advisers — among them, industry veteran and claimed “mentor” of Claure’s, Dennis Trujillo — for a year’s work at a going price of $50 million. The arrangement, which involved the team retaining a meeting area sequestered from all rank-and-file at the Overland Park, Kansas, campus, lasted only five months and ended up costing Sprint between $25 million and $30 million.

Some at Sprint were surprised at the consulting rate, way more than previous ones with different firms. A company spokesman claims that some advice was used and that the price wasn’t abnormally high.

Sources say that the advisory team, while offering advice that went mostly unused and got pushback and/or indifference from Sprint managers, did offer a presence that helped drive business decisions that Claure might not have been focused on otherwise.

The advice also caught the attention and disagreement of Masayoshi Son, Chairman of Sprint and of its parent company SoftBank. Sources say that Son made a recent move to effectively take Sprint’s handset leases — easily one of the bigger expenses in a carrier’s operations — off the balance sheet. He’s now more involved with Sprint than he has been since taking it over in 2012.

Sprint has more cost-cutting to come through, but it’s now back to growing a subscriber base. Whether annual profits will come back (the company hasn’t see such a return coming up to 10 years) remains a mystery.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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