Sprint saw its shares drop over 15 percent after it posted a second quarter net loss of $847 million on Thursday.
The company posted larger than expected losses, but did announce a partnership deal with LightSquared to develop LTE technology. LightSquared will pay Sprint $9 billion over 11 years to build and operate a LTE network, but the stock reaction indicates investors think it might be too little, too late.
Two of Sprint's biggest competitors, Verizon and AT&T, are already far ahead with their LTE networks. Verizon already has its LTE network up and rolling in major markets, while AT&T's foray begins this summer in a few, select markets.
One analyst suggests that the company may have to offer discounts to keep customers from jumping ship before its LTE network is up and running.
"We think Sprint may need to continue spending aggressively on promotions (including subsidies), especially if it is to achieve its goal of flat/positive net adds for the year," Shing Yin of Citadel Securities wrote in a note to clients.
But one of the biggest issues for Sprint is its lack of an "iconic phone." Both AT&T and Verizon have boosted sales through Apple's iPhone, while Sprint still does not offer the phone.
With demand for Apple iPhones continuing to go through the roof, a recent survey showed 35 percent of consumers want an iPhone 5, Sprint needs to get a major phone of its own.
"Fortunately or unfortunately in our industry, there's been a trend over the last few years where iconic devices are becoming a more important element of the overall consideration set that a customer goes through," Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said in a conference call.
"Price, value, network quality, retail experience, care experience - they're all important, but the device is becoming a larger and larger piece of that. So that's why we've put so much focus in the last couple of years on strengthening the device portfolio"
Without an iconic phone such as the iPhone, Sprint could continue to lose long-term customers. This past quarter it lost 100,000 post-paid subscribers and the number of defections only stands to increase.