Between finally being surpassed by the incumbent T-Mobile and suffering recent budget cuts, Sprint has been having a fairly bad year thus far. With no plans to participate in March's landmark spectrum auction, it looks like they have a hard road ahead of them. Among all this doom and gloom, the biggest glimmer of light, arguably, has been the excellent job that Sprint is doing utilizing their spectrum portfolio and building out their network. In fact, according to their CFO, Tarek Robbiati, customers are now on LTE about 90 percent of their time spent on the network.
The 90 percent figure, despite having a network spread that's not quite as wide, actually beats Verizon's network, which sits at about 89 percent. Sprint's lack of focus on rural areas is still a bit of a sore spot, but increasing network quality in key markets before rolling out in a wider capacity isn't exactly a new strategy in the wireless space. To top it off, Sprint's call drop frequency has apparently dipped below the one percent mark, down to just a bit over half a percent. This is a huge improvement from recent years, making the fruits of recent spectrum reassignments abundantly clear.
Robiatto also praised carrier aggregation, stating that since it can be rolled out on the software side, it's much faster, easier and cheaper to implement. Carrier aggregation, the technology that allows carriers to have their towers make dynamic use of unallocated spectrum as it floats around not doing much of anything, is easy to quickly roll out to entire network clusters. He also touched on the fact that Sprint is far from done making good use of their full portfolio of spectrum holdings.
Robiatto, of course, didn't shy away from sounding off about the recent and ongoing budget cuts. "Every function is under scrutiny, whether it's finance or whether it's HR or whether it's legal," he touted, trying his best to paint a rosy picture of Sprint's attempts to dig itself out of its financial pit. Sprint is still in far from the best position, network-wise and financially, but if Robiatto's optimistic talk is to be believed, they've got a good amount of fight left in them.