PreThinking - Your source for all things Pre - Sprint CEO Feels Confident About the Palm*Pre

Sprint CEO, Mr. Dan Hesse had an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution today discussing his outlook for Sprint and the upcoming Palm Pre. Mr. Hesse said he feels confident with the Palm Pre and that the Pre will attract customers that like both the functionality of the iPhone and Blackberry.

Below is an excerpt of the article:

Q: Next Saturday you’re rolling out the Palm Pre, Sprint’s answer to the iPhone and BlackBerry. Why should customers buy it?

A: The iPhone is a fantastic consumer device. The BlackBerry is a terrific business device. But if you want one phone that’s good at both, you’ll want a Pre. You can have multiple applications open at the same time. I can have the photo application open, check my contacts, look at the calendar and do e-mails when a phone call comes in.

Q: How will you gauge the phone’s success?

A: It will probably take about three months before we know. Early on, it will sell like crazy. The real issue is what kind of legs it will have after the initial euphoria.

Q: Won’t the recession keep customers away from the $200 Pre?

A: Customers are buying more and more expensive devices over time, even in a recession. But people are more budget-conscious and moving toward pre-paid contracts.

Q: You lost 1.25 million customers with long-term contracts during the first quarter this year. Yet you gained almost as many with no-contract, pre-paid plans and wholesale customers. Is that also a recessionary impact?

A: Yes, pre-paid plans are growing a lot faster than (long-term) plans. For the first quarter of 2009, we had more pre-paid than post-paid customers —- it was a landmark quarter. Will that trend remain once the economy improves? Do customers want to limit how much their kids spend each month to a $50 pre-pay? Do they not want to worry about a collection agency coming after them?

Q: Atlanta this summer will be one of a dozen cities to receive so-called 4G technology —- the next generation wireless broadband access —- from Sprint. What’s special about 4G?

A: The big difference is speed. Each generation is five times faster than the previous one. With 3G I can watch videos on my cellphone. With 4G, it’ll be just like watching TV and videos at home.

Q: You’ve got two kids. At what age did they get cellphones?

A: Around 9 or 10. They also get to see the devices before production. My older son is a real techno-geek. He didn’t like one of our phones because it didn’t have a back-lit keyboard. I asked him why that was important, and he said, ‘Because we all text at night under the covers.’

Q: So keyboards are now back-lit?

A: Yes.