Light Reading

Sprint Adds 70 Fresh LTE Markets

Sarah Reedy
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Sprint has added another 70 4G LTE markets in time for Christmas and what it promises will be a brighter new year.

The carrier says its LTE network now reaches 300 markets. Some of the bigger new markets include Green Bay, Wis., Orlando, Fla., San Diego, and St. Louis.

In announcing the market expansion, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) reiterated something CEO Dan Hesse said recently: The coming year will see significant network improvements and be free of many of the growing pains of its Network Vision plans in 2013. The company also anounced that it launched Sprint Spark, its faster tri-band network, in Chicago this month, and it is redeploying its 800MHz spectrum for LTE and 3G to improve in-building coverage for voice and data. (See: Sprint Feels the Churn Burn Before Spark and Sprint Sparks It in Chicago.)

Sprint also said it will cover 85 million PoPS with HD voice by the end of the year. (See: Sprint Commits to Tri-Band, HD Voice Phones and Sprint Delays HD Voice Launch to Q2.)

Why this matters
Sprint has had a trying 2013. It shut down its iDEN network, losing more than 1 million contact customers in the process, and it struggled through integration and quality degradation challenges to complete its Network Vision plan. It has made big promises for 2014, which will be a critical year for it to fill in some large gaps in its LTE network, bring Spark to more markets, and reverse its customer losses.

Next year is already shaping up to be an interesting year for other reasons -- if the rumors are true. Light Reading has heard Sprint might be moving its headquarters to California under the direction of its new SoftBank Corp. leadership. On Friday, an old-time favorite rumor resurfaced -- that Sprint is looking to merge with T-Mobile US Inc. . Such a deal would have a hard time getting approval in the US, where regulators have stressed the importance of keeping four Tier 1 carriers intact. (See: Sprint: Heading to California?)

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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Blogger
12/17/2013 | 10:46:13 AM
Re: Filling in the gaps
Took them a long time to get NYC done though, they're probably working through similar issues in San Fran.
User Rank: Blogger
12/16/2013 | 4:12:41 PM
Re: Filling in the gaps
Haha, that's a good point. Sprint's probably just looking for a numbers boost early on, but it can't ignore the big cities too. It should probably deal with San Francisco sooner rather than later. It's quickly becoming a WiFi city if you saw my other article today...
User Rank: Light Beer
12/16/2013 | 1:51:12 PM
Re: Filling in the gaps
To be fair, it is much easier to expand coverage to "markets" like Abbeville, Crowley, and New Iberia when all you have to do is add a single POP atop the school flagpole. (And, yes, I have spent a fair amount of time in all three.)
User Rank: Blogger
12/16/2013 | 12:41:53 PM
Filling in the gaps
Sprint still has some pretty big LTE gaps to fill, ie it has Muskegon, Michigan, covered, but still no LTE in San Francisco...hmm.
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