Sprint CFO Tarek Robbiati (pictured) revealed the operator plans to add thousands of new towers as part of a network investment push lined up for 2018.
Speaking at an investor conference, the CFO said a “few thousand” new towers are in the pipeline as part of a “neighbourhood expansion” effort to improve service in specific markets at the fringe of Sprint’s existing footprint before the carrier eventually expands into rural areas. He indicated the network reinforcements will be accompanied by enhanced distribution capabilities in those areas.
Sprint’s tower additions are part of a plan to spend $5 billion to $6 billion to strengthen its network in 2018. Robbiati reiterated Sprint’s investment strategy includes plans to push triband capabilities across its entire network and densify through the deployment of mini macros, air strands and Sprint’s Magic Box. He said the operator will also “aggressively” roll out 64×64 massive MIMO as part of the tower deployments to increase spectral efficiency and capacity.
Robbiati noted the higher level of spending won’t be the new norm and Sprint will return to a more “sustainable” level in subsequent years. However, he indicated Sprint is able “to stretch ourselves a little bit” on spending, adding: “it’s really important we put our spectrum to good use once and for all.”
Sprint won’t be the only one adding towers to its network in 2018: AT&T and Verizon recently agreed to lease and co-locate equipment on hundreds of new towers set to be built by Tillman Infrastructure starting early in the year.