Sprint finalised a plan to relocate network towers that could see the struggling US operator save up to $1 billion in costs, according to Re/Code.

The move, dubbed the Next Generation Network, comes after the country’s fourth largest operator by subscribers said in November it wants to cut operating expenses by $2 billion in 2016, to end a period of six straight years of losses.

According to the technology publication, Sprint plans to relocate its radio equipment from tower space it currently leases from private companies, Crown Castle and American Tower, to government owned land, which involves less costs.

It will in turn lease capacity from cell tower company Mobilitie, which claims on its website to a focus on “driving costs down over time for our carrier partners”.

As part of the plan, Sprint is also seeking a way to reduce its backhaul dependency from the country’s two largest players, Verizon and AT&T.

SoftBank-owned Sprint, which reportedly pays its competitors approximately $1 billion a year to access fibre cables to provide links to towers and mobile switches, is now looking at a plan to switch to microwave technology. The report notes the technology is similar to what US spectrum player Clearwire used, before being acquired by Sprint in 2012.

CEO Marcelo Claure repeatedly talked up Sprint’s network ambitions last year, stating he expects the company to be the number one or number two network provider in every major market within 24 months.

The operator has however struggled with network upgrade projects in the past, which not only caused outages, but also drove subscribers away and increased its reputation for having the weakest network out of the country’s four major players.

Its latest network overhaul could also present similar risks, according to market watchers.

“It’s always a concern when you are putting a new infrastructure strategy in place,” wireless industry consultant Chetan Sharma told Re/Code.

As part of the cost cutting plans outlined last year, the company said there would be job cuts, and sources claim these could be announced later this week. Sprint also said last year it would not participate in the country’s long-awaited major incentive auction, scheduled for March.