Sprint has had a tough few years, and their network has had a longer and tougher time. Sprint has been working to improve their network, even before Sprint’s current CEO Marcelo Claure took over the company in 2014. With Network Vision, the plan was to bring users a better voice network as well as better data speeds. But that was scraped and now Sprint is working on their data network – as they are looking to bring VoLTE to their customers soon, thus won’t really need the data network. In the past, with network upgrades, customers have seen significant down time and disruption. However on today’s earnings call, Sprint’s CEO stated that customers won’t see any downtime with this new strategy for upgrading their network.
Claure mentioned that this new strategy isn’t to “rip-and-replace” hardware on their towers. He also promised that this is a “progressive build” and customer experiences will only improve as they upgrade their network. John Saw, the company’s CTO, did not say to much on their plans simply because “we dont [want to] give our playbook away.” Which makes total sense, as their competitors – T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon – are likely reading up on what Sprint is doing. However, we do know that the upgrades include Small Cells. Something that Verizon and AT&T are already using in their network.
Small Cells are essentially small towers that can be placed on light and utility poles. They are like network repeaters and create better coverage in dense areas. Verizon is already using them in areas that are densely populated like downtown areas, near arenas and malls. Small Cells are becoming a pretty popular piece of hardware that carriers are using to get better coverage in more areas and expand their capacity.
This is part of Claure’s plan to bring Sprint to either the number one or two network in 80% of the markets in the US, within the next two years. He made that goal known last year, and he appears to be sticking to that goal. Sprint today, also announced their earnings for the third fiscal quarter of 2015. Adding 501,000 customers. Although they did lose a big chunk of prepaid customers. Which Claure mentioned that the company isn’t focusing as much on prepaid as they once were.