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SoftBank Approves Sprint’s Network Densification Plans

June 4, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Not too long ago, we reported that Sprint’s CEO Marcelo Claure was flying to Japan to meet with his boss, SoftBank’s CEO and Sprint Chairman, Masayoshi Son about his plan for network densification for Sprint. Well now, it appears that Son has approved that plan. According to Sprint’s Spokeswoman Adrienne Norton, “Sprint has developed an approved network plan in partnership with SoftBank that will allow for a cost-effective network build on an accelerated timeline.”

Re/Code held their annual Code Conference last month, in which Claure stated that SoftBank supports their network enhancements. Stating, “We have a clear funding plan.” He added that Sprint Chairman, Son “made a pretty strong commitment: I’m going to build a strong network.”This is Sprint’s new “Next Generation Network” strategy to densify its network. The carrier has already issued a RFP for the work that needs to be done on their network and is evaluating proposals from vendors. Claure and other Sprint execs have declined to reveal how many small cells and macrocells the network will be using, Claure indicated that the carrier’s long-term plan is to dramatically increase its coverage and capacity, and also to deploy VoLTE. Sprint is also looking to make WiFi a big element in their network.

As far as the small cells go, we had heard earlier this year that we were going to see about 20,000 small cells. And the way that small cells works is it’s basically a small cell tower that can be place on a light pole in a dense area like a downtown area or even around arenas. This provides better coverage as well as better bandwidth for users in that area.

Claure famously said at Re/Code’s Code Conference last month that in two years they’ll have the top network in America. That’s a pretty tall task to fulfill, but I’m sure I’m not the only one that would love to see that happen. Sprint is great in some areas, and in others not so much. Sprint is looking to change that and densify their network, so that everyone can get great service. Right now, Verizon has the best network with AT&T at number two and T-Mobile working to change that. So it’s great to see the smaller two carriers working to disrupt the duopoly of Verizon and AT&T.