Now, the Sprint campus may look like a prison on the outside, but, inside, it houses the network equipment, devices and visionaries behind the Network Vision project on which Sprint is betting the farm (it is in Kansas, after all, where farms are bet). Sprint plans to give us a progress report on the project.
Network Vision represents Sprint's plan to consolidate its CDMA, WiMax and soon-to-be-deployed Long Term Evolution (LTE) holdings into one multi-modal network. The company has already deployed 38,000 cell sites and plans to launch 10 LTE markets by mid-year, but there's still a long ways to go. (See Sprint: First LTE Site Is 'Up & Running'.)
Ahead of the meet-and-greet, we wanted to throw out a few questions in hopes of getting some answers served up alongside the barbecue while we're in town.
1) Where does LTE go next?
Sprint says it will cover 120 million people with LTE by the end of the year, but hasn't confirmed if those are the same 120 million it reaches with WiMax. And, it's only confirmed its first six launch cities with no clues as to where it goes after that. (See Sprint's First 10 LTE Markets Coming by Mid-Year.)
2) How close are you to closing on vendor financing?
Sprint may need up to $6 billion to complete its Network Vision, and it's counting on securing $1 billion to $3 billion in vendor financing in the second quarter. So far it hasn't said how close it is to nabbing it, nor from whom it plans to get the cash. (See Sprint Must Spend Big to Go Big With 4G and Sprint Chases $3B in Vendor Financing.)
3) What about WiMax?
Sprint's first two LTE smartphones don't include WiMax connectivity, so they'll fall back to CDMA in most markets. This may hurt the consumer experience for some, but building devices that cross all three networks would prove expensive and battery intensive. (See Sprint's LTE Evo Has HD Talk, No WiMax and Sprint Bites Into LTE Phones Ahead of Network .)
4) Is M&A in the future?
Sprint's board reportedly blocked a proposal to acquire MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS), and the list of smaller carriers Sprint could gobble up is getting slim. (See Sprint Board Nixed MetroPCS Deal.)
That's just a bit of what we're interested in, but what do you want us to ask the employees roaming around Sprint-ville this week? Let us know in the comments section below. We'll try to get all the answers, but in the meantime, brush up on Network Vision with the following stories:
- Sprint, the LTE iPhone & 4G Plans
- Sprint: A Bankruptcy Risk?
- Sprint Scuttles LightSquared Deal
- Sprint Details iDEN's Death March
- Sprint's 4G LTE Texan Triangle
- Sprint's iPhone Q4 Ouch!