Sprint's First to Deploy Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) will fill in gaps in its developing Long Term Evolution (LTE) network with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s lightRadio Metro Cells, the companies announced Monday.
The Network Vision operator plans to use its partner's mini base stations in high-traffic areas where it is rolling out LTE, starting with indoor entertainment venues, transportation hubs and business campuses. It says the deployment will bring better broadband to its subscribers and help reduce its costs.
Sprint is the first customer to announce it is using lightRadio products in its network, according to an Alcatel-Lucent spokesman. Alcatel-Lucent's past announcements with operators including China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL), Etisalat , Amťrica Můvil S.A. de C.V. and others have been joint development deals, but it says it currently has 39 commercial small-cell deployment agreements and more than 20 ongoing trials. (See Euronews: Etisalat Tunes to AlcaLu's lightRadio, China Mobile Sees the Light(Radio) , AlcaLu Boasts LTE, lightRadio Deal and MWC 2012: AlcaLu Turns Co-Creationist.)
Why this matters
Sprint will need all the help in growing coverage and reducing costs it can get for its multi-mode Network Vision. The operator has told Light Reading Mobile that it isn't waiting until it blankets a market to roll out LTE, but rather until it has adequate street-level coverage, so any measures it can take to increase capacity should help expedite the rollout. (See Sprint's 4G LTE Scramble.)
The U.S.'s third-largest carrier currently has 15 LTE markets deployed, but plans to reach 120 million potential customers by year's end. Its competitors Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) have 337 and 47 markets, respectively.
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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile