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Sprint reports wireless growth as network investment plan continues

Sprint adding 2.5 GHz support to macro sites; 15,000 small cells on-air

Under the direction of new CEO Michel Combes, Sprint today reported Q1 2018 financials that reflect a sixth consecutive quarter of subscriber growth, although key metrics like net income and operating income declined year-over-year. Combes said, as the company seeks regulatory approval for a merger with T-Mobile US, “balancing growth and profitability” is a focus point.

“I am quite proud by the results,” Combes said on a call with the media. “We continue to deliver strong financial results and we reached a major milestone by delivering sequential growth in wireless revenue for the first time in four years.” He said continued investments into Sprint’s “next-generation network plan” will position the carrier for future growth “as a merged company or standalone.”

Chief Technology Officer John Saw provided some color on the network investments in a blog post. Saw said thousands of macro sites now support the carrier’s 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings, with 2.5 GHz supported on “two-thirds of our macro sites.” There are more than 15,000 strand mount and mini macro small cells on the network, along with some 65,000 of the plug-and-play Magic Box indoor small cells.

Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum is key to its continued enhancement of LTE, as well as its 5G ambitions. If the T-Mo combination goes through, the Un-carrier’s nationwide 600 MHz holdings, along with Sprint’s 2.5 spectrum, will provide an advantageous low- and mid-band mixture. Saw said the 2.5 GHz deployments means “our download speeds have dramatically increased.”

Massive MIMO is another key to Sprint’s next-generation network strategy; split mode antennas can simultaneously support LTE and 5G. “This game-changing technology,” Saw wrote, “is capable of delivering up to 10 times the capacity of current LTE systems, significantly increasing data speeds for more customers in high-traffic locations. And because Sprint has so much 2.5 GHz spectrum, we can use Massive MIMO to deliver 4G LTE and 5G on the same radio simultaneously.”





Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Editor-in-Chief Sean focuses on multiple subject areas including 5G, Open RAN, hybrid cloud, edge computing, and Industry 4.0. He also hosts Arden Media's podcast Will 5G Change the World? Prior to his work at RCR, Sean studied journalism and literature at the University of Mississippi then spent six years based in Key West, Florida, working as a reporter for the Miami Herald Media Company. He currently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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