Sprint upgrades 3G network, LTE on track for 2013

Everything seems to be on track for Sprint to roll out its LTE service, a service that will cost somewhere north of $715.5 million. The Now Network announced earlier this week that it has built its first cluster of multi-modal base stations that are LTE-ready.

The cluster of base stations were planted in Kankakee, Illinois, and follows the single multi-modal base station put up in Branchburg, N.J. These stations are powerful enough to run the forthcoming LTE-based network in the Kankakee area, but no such traffic is passing through at the moment.

Discussing the company’s improvement in its network, Bob Azzi, SVP at Sprint said:

“Sprint’s on an aggressive path to roll out Network Vision, and in collaboration with our partners, have already achieved many significant milestones that offer improved customer experience on the Sprint 3G network, and we expect to maintain and even accelerate this momentum in 2012.”

Sprint also states that rolling out these 3G upgrades help its service because it eliminates most technical risks that may hamper its plans of validating rapid LTE deployment. Speaking as a Sprint customer, it’ll be interesting to see how the company navigates between the roll out of its forthcoming LTE, and the upkeep of its older 4G service — WiMax.


  • Jpezz333

    I am confused about how Sprint is moving forward with 4G LTE. It is my understanding that Sprint is relying on Lightsquared to provide them with their new 4g LTE network. The spectrum that Lightsquared owns is not going to be allowed to be used as the FCC has said that it interferes with GPS systems. Isn’t this very bad news for Sprint?

    • Grant

      lightsquared is more of an opportunity for sprint to generate revenue and offload subscribers onto lightsquareds capacity. Technically sprint is building the network for lightsqured, not vice versa. In combination with clearwire, sprint still has nearly 200 mhz of spectrum without lightsquared. Sprint really looses nothing without lightsquared.

      If sprint can utilize clearwires spectrum and manage its finances properly, it will be in an amazing position in the years to come of the spectrum cruch. Only IF

    • quintus murray

      it was resolved already and no they shouldn’t bother with upkeeping wimax just shut it down and force ppl to upgrade for free

    • Red777

      you are confused (partly because Sprint often confuses people with a strategy that best represents that game Twister from the 70’s). disregard LightSquared — that was always a CUSTOMER that would pay Sprint $9B over 5 years to host its spectrum on Sprint’s network, plus it would also offer incremental/supplemental LTE capacity.

      Sprint is rolling out LTE on its own dedicated (and currently unused) 1.9ghz G-Block spectrum that it got from Nextel — this is the only channel block that is licensed nationwide across the country (all other licenses are by MSA or regional licenses that must be stitched together).  Sprint executives have also stated at investor conferences (not clear if it’s true since finance executive rather then technical personnel said this) that it will supplement with 800mhz channels that are freed up as it migrates from the iDEN (Nextel) network — but previously these frequencies were slated to support CDMA voice.  In addition, Sprint has a preliminary deal in place with CLWR to supplement Sprint’s LTE network with “hot spot” capacity using CLWR’s “fat pipe” 2.5ghz frequencies employing another flavor of LTE called TDD-LTE. Qualcomm has introduced chipsets that combine both forms of LTE (as many other global operators intending to implement hybrid FDD-TDD LTE networks as well).

      Sprint has announced intention to introduce multi-mode (EV-DO / WiMax / LTE) modems/dongles/cards but says that it intends to shift directly to LTE smartphones and does not intend to support multi-mode WiMax/LTE smartphones. Thus new 4G LTE smartphones will be introduced in fall of 2012 while it phases out 4G WiMax smartphones — maybe it will dump those WiMAx devices instead in its prepaid brand channels Boost and Virgin since Sprint is paying a flat rate (i.e. not volume sensitive) for usage on CLWR’s WiMax network for 2012 and 2013 (thus Sprint has no incremental 4G network usage cost for the incremental WiMax smartphone that’s loaded on CLWR so it has an incentive to keep WiMax loaded).

      On a personal note, presumably, in november 2012, when I myself am elligible for my next upgrade on Sprint, I will switch to the new LTE smartphone if Sprint lights up LTE where I live. I suppose that it will either be another Samsung or the new iPhone 5 at that point that will support 4G LTE, and I will sell my old Samsung smartphone on eBay.   That’s how I intend to transition.

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