'The Mobile Internet Changes Everything' | Forbes

In this excerpt, Dan talks to the Robert Reiss of The CEO Show and Forbes about the ubiquitous impact of the mobile internet. Published July 2015.  


Robert Reiss: How important is understanding the evolving internet to CEO’s and their boards?

Dan Hesse: Mobile communications is arguably the most important technological development in the history of the planet.  Cell phone users grew from zero to six billion in 25 years, the most rapidly-adopted technology ever.  But the emerging “internet of things,” where wireless chips will be put into almost every object produced — vehicles, home appliances, clothing, health monitors, wearables and even into the human body, may be even more transformative.  Cisco estimates 50 billion such connected devices will be in use by 2020.

The ubiquitous internet (sometimes referred to as the wireless or the mobile internet) changes everything!  This mobile, always-on internet is transforming economies, education, language, health care, music, safety, privacy and the quality of life for the elderly and those with disabilities. CEOs and boards should understand these implications on the marketplace in which their companies operate.  Imagine a world where a company, its products and its customers are connected 24/7.  The customer relationship, the value proposition and the business model of every company and industry will likely be transformed.  The winners and losers will likely be determined by who innovates most effectively to address this always-connected world.

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Corporate Leadership

Best Turnaround CEOs of All Time - Dan Hesse | Fierce Wireless

The following excerpt was included in a review of "turnaround CEOs". Dan Hesse was listed alongside Steve Jobs. Published October 2011. 


Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) CEO Dan Hesse arrived at the company in late 2007 as it was in freefall, reeling from the tenure of Gary Forsee. One of the first and most prescient things Hesse did was simplify Sprint's rate plans by offering the company's "Simply Everything" plan in early 2008. Since then, simplicity has become one of the key brand values and identifiers for Sprint, which right now stands alone as the only Tier 1 wireless carrier still offering unlimited smartphone data plans to new customers.

Turning the company around proved extremely difficult, and Sprint lost 5.1 million subscribers in 2008, as wireless revenue fell by $3.1 billion, or 32 percent, as compared to 2007. Still, the company was making improvements, most notably in customer service, which had been one of Sprint's key weak points under Forsee.

In early 2009 Sprint's Boost Mobile brand shook up the industry and sparked a price war with its $50 monthly unlimited plan on Sprint's iDEN network. After acquiring Virgin Mobile USA in late 2009, the company re-tooled its prepaid offerings and launched a multi-brand strategy in May 2010 aimed at segmenting the market. Hesse effectively doubled-down (or quadrupled, if you want to think of it that way) on prepaid with the re-launch of Virgin Mobile as well as the launch of Assurance Wireless for low-income customers and Common Cents Mobile pay-per-minute brands. Prepaid remains one of Sprint's strongest growth engines. Sprint also launched its attractive "Any Mobile, Anytime" service, offering unlimited calling to any mobile number, regardless of carrier.

Slowly but surely, Sprint's subscriber losses began to slow down, starting in the fourth quarter of 2009 and continuing in first quarter of 2010. By the second quarter, Sprint had returned to positive subscriber growth for the first time in three years, largely on the strength of its prepaid offerings, though postpaid subscriber losses were decreasing. Sprint added the most net wireless subscribers in a quarter since 2006 in the third quarter of 2010, but still lost postpaid customers. The turnaround continued in the fourth quarter and Sprint added 1.1 million total net subscribers, including net postpaid additions of 58,000 subscribers--the carrier's first net postpaid additions since the second quarter of 2007. 

Around this time Sprint selected Alcatel-Lucent (NASDAQ:ALU), Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Samsung for its network modernization project, called Network Vision, the latest evolution of Sprint's network (the company inked a $5 billion deal with  Ericsson in 2009 to outsource the management of its network). Network Vision is centered around multi-mode base stations that Sprint will use to deploy multiple radio technologies, and the plan will allow Sprint to shut down the iDEN network starting in 2013.

In 2011, continued postpaid subscriber losses have leavened overall subscriber gains, but Hesse's biggest coup was finally getting Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone for the Now Network. The company's Network Vision plans, which will allow Sprint to deploy LTE by mid-2012, and move away from 4G dependence on WiMAX provider Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), still need to be ironed out.

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Corporate Leadership

A CEO Worth Emulating

This article, reviewing Dan Hesse's corporate leadership, originally appeared on Talent Zoo's Digital Pivot blog. Published January 2013. 


As someone who grew up watching a parent run a business, I’ve always paid attention to CEOs who rise to the forefront of media attention. Many of them, like the revolving door of those unfortunate souls in charge of RIM, incur nothing but a growing disappointment in heads of major corporations and a concern for the future of our country.

However, Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint, long ago earned a place in my heart. Although Sprint may not be the chief carrier in the nation, his manner of running a business is an inspiration to any current or aspiring entrepreneurs.

While other major cell-phone carriers remain faceless corporations, whose customers continually have nothing but ill to speak of them, Sprint has featured Dan Hesse in its commercials for years, a move that gives consumers a name and a face to associate with their cellular provider. This decision alone stands head and shoulders above the choices of other major carriers, who hide in the shadow of their brand and never emerge to address or appreciate their customer base.

Hesse has even, at times, invited customers with complaints about their cellular service to email him directly. Prior to that, when it became apparent that Sprint customers were increasingly dissatisfied, Hesse took steps to ensure that Sprint rose from having one of the worst customer service departments in America with whom to deal to having the absolute best.

Coming from a very technology-proficient family, and being a person who can occasionally be hard on mobile devices, I have personally been a thorn in Sprint’s customer service department at times, but have always had my issues resolved quickly and in the best way possible for all parties. If more CEOs truly took the time to listen, sincerely, to customer complaints, it would surely do wonders for the economy.

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Dan Hesse is a Top Rated CEO on Glassdoor | Glassdoor

Article originally appeared on as part of the review of Glassdoor's Highest Rated CEOs 2015. Published March 26, 2014.


Dan Hesse smile

Sprint employees have spoken, and Dan Hesse is among the leaders on Glassdoor’s 2014 list of the Highest Rated CEOs at large companies.

He is the only CEO of a telecommunications company to be recognized this year.

“We find on Glassdoor that a strong leader is often one who has the ability to clearly communicate the vision for the company and who helps employees see how their work connects to the big picture,” said Robert Hohman, CEO and co-founder of Glassdoor, a popular online career community.

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