LIVE FROM CES 2014: US operator Sprint used an event tonight to declare that 2014 will be the year the company puts its recent challenges behind it, as the country’s third-largest carrier outlined progress with its Spark service.
Acknowledging that the operator has been through a rough period (faring badly in customer service rankings and encountering challenges with its nationwide Network Vision upgrade), CTO Stephen Bye (pictured, middle) claimed it is turning a corner. “Clearly we’ve come a long way from where we were,” he stated. “This year we will be able to say we are back in the game.”
Sprint’s SVP of technical architecture, John Saw (pictured, left), was equally bullish, claiming that the firm will build “the most competitive network of all.”
Sprint’s confidence stems from progress with rollout of Spark, its superfast network which combines 800MHz, 1.9GHz and 2.5GHz frequencies and is an overlay to its LTE networks in metro markets. The operator today announced the service is now available in 11 markets, with theoretical peak download speeds of 50-60 Mb/s. Saw claims average downlink speeds come in at 12-15 Mb/s and this performance will continue to improve.
“It’s not just another LTE network,” said Saw, touting the benefits of its prime chunk of 2.5GHz spectrum. “2.5 gives us the highest speed and capacity.”
Sprint plans to deploy Spark in about 100 of America’s largest cities during the next three years. By the end of this year, 100 million Americans are expected to have Spark coverage.
Sprint’s strategy is to offer a blended LTE service with peak ‘Spark’ speeds available in major metro markets. All told, it will cover 250 million Americans with some flavour of 4G LTE by the middle of 2014.