Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said the operator wants to “dramatically” enhance its coverage with a renewed focus on networks that will push tri-band spectrum to all sites and utilise Altice’s cable infrastructure for small cell deployments.
At an investor conference, Claure indicated a little less than half of Sprint’s cell sites currently run on 2.5GHz spectrum alone. But Sprint is looking to change that by deploying 800MHz and 1.9GHz alongside the 2.5GHz airwaves across all its tower sites.
Focus on infrastructure
The move will come as part of a renewed focus on network infrastructure that leans more heavily on traditional buildout methods. Claure said Sprint has spent the last few years experimenting with various network tools, but acknowledged not all of its efforts have been successful. Going forward, he said, the operator will take a more “traditional macro deployment” approach to “enhance dramatically the coverage Sprint has today”.
Masayoshi Son, Sprint chairman and CEO of parent company SoftBank, previously indicated the operator would up its capital investment spending to the $5 billion to $6 billion range in 2018. But Claure noted those numbers are at the “lower end” of what Sprint wants to spend to accelerate its network buildout:
“If possible, we’re actually going to spend more.”
Working with Altice
In addition to macro deployments, Claure reported those dollars will also go toward deploying small cells that use Altice’s wireline network. Altice recently inked an MVNO agreement with Sprint to launch wireless services on the latter’s network.
“They have amazing assets as it relates to backhaul and they have a bunch of air strands where you can deploy thousands of small cells without the traditional regulatory hurdles,” Claure said.
Claure indicated those deployments with Altice will start “very soon”.