In Quality, IoT, & 5G, Sprint Sprints Ahead

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Rich Tehrani
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In Quality, IoT, & 5G, Sprint Sprints Ahead

In a recent meeting with Sprint execs I was impressed by what the company is doing to grow its wireless user base. Guenther Ottendorfer, COO of Technology and Ron Marquardt, VP of Technology gave me an overview of all the progress the company is making. First off, the network is really improving – two years ago, it was ranked last by a large margin in network quality but now its number two in five out of six U.S. regions according to J.D. Power.

The semiannual study is based on 10 problem areas of the customer experience: dropped calls; calls not connected; audio issues; failed/late voicemails; lost calls; text transmission failures; late text message notifications; web/app connection errors; slow downloads/apps; and email connection errors. Network performance issues are measured as problems per 100 (PP100) connections, with a lower score reflecting fewer problems and higher overall performance.

The company is also forging ahead with LTE Plus which is their branded combination of LTE-A and LTE – they have taken their two-channel carrier aggregation and increased it by one on more than 500 cell sites in Chicago. They recently demonstrated download speeds of 230 Mbps in conjunction with Samsung. They used wood to block the signal and showed how beamforming helps overcome such obstacles to line-of-sight communications.

The company says it will be ready for 5G – they hold more than 160 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in the top 100 U.S. markets. Sprint also uses 800 MHz and 1.9 GHz spectrum to provide strong coverage and reliability across its LTE Plus network.

They’re also committed to densification – then again this is a necessity for all carriers in urban markets. They think this commitment will help with their IoT growth. My colleague Doug Mohney thinks eventually the industry will promote a 5G-Fast and a 5G-IoT network - this idea makes a lot of sense.

In addition, they touted their new unlimited plans as follows:

  • Unlimited Freedom - An unlimited option for $60/month with mobile optimized streaming video (480p)
  • Unlimited Freedom Premium - An unlimited option for $80/month for those who prefer a higher quality video experience.


Two more point worth noting are they told me something big is coming in the future – we’ll see what that is… Perhaps a content deal of some kind? Will the rumor I wrote about in 2007 regarding Google buying them come through? Probably not. Also – they think worry free broadband is the killer app for 3G/4G. They may be onto something as today Comcast rolled out its 1 TB wired data cap nationwide.

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