Sprint wants to become "the 5G company" by making the most of its vast spectrum portfolio and other assets, including those of its parent SoftBank, the wireless carrier's Chief Financial Officer Michele Combes said at the Deutsche Bank 2018 Media, Internet and Telecom Conference earlier this week. Going forward, the company's main goal is to reduce costs and pass on those savings to consumers while simultaneously maintaining its technological advancements meant to improve the overall quality of its network offerings. Mr. Combes also used the occasion to reiterate Sprint's plan to become the first mobile service provider to offer nationwide 5G coverage in 2019. While the firm previously suggested it's striving to be the first to launch a 5G service at all, it hasn't issued such comments for months now as Verizon or AT&T are now widely expected to win that particular race in the second half of 2018.
Like other company officials, Mr. Combes touts Sprint's 2.5GHz spectrum holdings as a major advantage that should allow it to significantly improve its 4G LTE network and prepare for 5G buildouts in the near future. The industry veteran was hired to replace Tarek Robbiati in early January, having arrived at the Overland Park, Kansas-based telecom giant with a reputation of a comeback specialist following his involvement in the sale of struggling Alcatel-Lucent to Nokia, as well as his contributions to France Télécom's transition to the Orange brand. Spring is presently in dire need of a comeback, with recent data showing the company is falling further behind T-Mobile and is now by far the smallest national carrier in the United States.
The firm's upcoming 5G plans are meant to be carried out along with its 4G LTE improvements thanks to Ericsson's Massive MIMO radios that can simultaneously allow it to broadcast both services, according to recent statements from Sprint Chief Technology Officer John Saw. The company is also presently in the process of field-testing a VoLTE solution that it plans to offer on a countrywide level later this year. Its large-scale 5G buildouts are scheduled to start by early 2019, in time for the stateside release of the first 5G-enabled smartphones which are expected to be manufactured by Samsung and likely launch as the successors to the Galaxy S9 series.