On September 19th, Sprint Nextel (S) had presented at Goldman Sachs’ Communicopia Conference. While Sprint did not divulge iPhone 5 sales figures like AT&T (T), we would expect that Sprint sold about 800K iPhones so far based on the fact that Sprint’s Q2 iPhone sales were 40% of AT&T’s and AT&T announced that it sold 2 million iPhone 5 devices. Sprint shares a common bond with AT&T in that both companies are significantly trailing Verizon Wireless (VZ) with regards to 4G-LTE coverage. Both companies have been working feverishly to expand each firm’s 4G-LTE footprint in order to remain competitive with Verizon. Sprint has already extended 4G-LTE to 19 cities and metro markets and is expanding coverage in the coming months to over 100 metro markets nationwide. Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse reiterated that Sprint has been able to cut costs by improving its customer service experience and this helped Sprint raise prices last year. These price increases enabled Sprint to help finance the Network Vision project and initiated the 4 year $15.5B purchase commitment with Apple (AAPL) for its cutting edge iPhone product line.

Hesse also sees potential consolidation in the wireless industry and that Sprint would see itself completing a merger deal once Network Vision has been concluded and if the deal offers realizable synergies. Sprint is aware that it does not have the scale that the AT&T/Verizon duopoly does. If Sprint was to acquire a company, it would be looking to find deals that offer realizable synergies in a quick payback period. We believe that the most logical companies that Sprint would acquire would be the regional postpaid firm U.S. Cellular and the prepaid firms MetroPCS and Leap Wireless since all four firms are legacy CDMA firms and all four are in the process of building out 4G-LTE networks. If Sprint acquired all three of the legacy CDMA firms, it would result in Sprint having over 77M customers and make it a little more competitive to the AT&T/Verizon duopoly.

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