& cplSiteName &

Sprint's Next Trick? They Call It a 'Magic Box'

Dan Jones

Sprint held a call after its morning earnings report Tuesday specifically to discuss the launch of its latest LTE small cell. Yes, you read that right, and no, this isn't 2013 and you haven't slipped into a Light Reading wormhole. Sprint is really excited about its new 4G "Magic Box" small cell!

In fact, SoftBank Corp. CEO Masayoshi Son -- majority owner of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) -- even got on the company's earnings call to discuss the Magic Box, among other things. (See Son & Sprint Talk Mergers, Trump & 5G.)

So what -- if anything -- makes the Magic Box different?

"It's the world's first all-wireless small cell," says Günther Ottendorfer, COO of technology at Sprint. What this means is the tiny basestation uses a radio connection to link it back to a Sprint cellsite as well as for the user connectivity. No more plugging into the homeowner's DSL for connectivity.

The device -- developed by Airspan Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: AIRN) -- is primarily intended help Sprint's 2.5GHz 4G LTE signal cover a subscriber's domicile and the surrounding, although it can also connect to the "donor" macro-site over Sprint's 1900MHz network too, if no 2.5GHz signal is available. CTO John Saw says that Sprint now covers more than 200 million Americans with its 2.5GHz LTE network.

Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on
Light Reading.

The box also has self-optimizing (SON) software onboard, which allows it to be a good neighbor with other radio signals and avoid network interference. "You can increase the overall capacity [of the network] with the Magic Box, and decrease interference, Gunther said.

The box, which can be installed by the user, can cover up to 200 meters outdoors. There are "2 sectors" on the send channel of the radio, according to Saw -- one covering indoors and one covering outdoors.

Finally, Sprint says it will be given free to qualifying customers.

This matters because it could be the start of an interesting trend for Sprint. 5G is expected to rely on multitudes of small cells to improve high-band coverage. Getting users to deploy small cells on their own properties may be one way to alleviate municipal ordinance costs. (See Know Your Small Cell: Home, Enterprise, or Public Access?)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/5/2017 | 11:49:48 AM
A strategic descision here to get more connectivity via existing customers. I like it. 

The only problem is if customers really understand what this thing does. Will education be an issue?
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Featured Video
From The Founder
John Chambers is still as passionate about business and innovation as he ever was at Cisco, finds Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
September 12, 2018, Los Angeles, CA
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 6, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
T-Mobile to Play the Customer Care Card With Layer3 TV
Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading, 8/15/2018
Australia Could Open 5G Door to Huawei
Robert Clark, 8/16/2018
Video Navigation Gets an AI Assist
Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading, 8/16/2018
Eurobites: Deutsche Telekom Pulls Out of Iran
Iain Morris, International Editor, 8/17/2018
Animals with Phones
When Your Cat Hijacks Your Tech Click Here
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed