US operator Sprint said that it had “met, and in some cases exceeded” its targets for its network upgrades during 2014, while also outlining goals for the coming year.
John Saw, the company’s chief network officer (pictured), said that its targets for the current year included completing the “rip and replace” of its 1.9GHz 3G network, the rollout of HD Voice nationwide by July, expanding its LTE footprint across all frequency bands, and reaching 100 million population with 2.5GHz LTE by the end of the year.
The 3G upgrade was announced as “substantially completed” in July, at the same point that HD Voice was launched – Sprint now has 24.2 million HD Voice capable devices in use by customers.
Its LTE network now covers more than 260 million people in 552 markets, mostly using 1.9GHz LTE. It has switched on LTE in the 2.5GHz band in 16 new markets this week, taking the total to 62 and covering the targeted 100 million people.
Saw said that looking forward, and with “the support of the network experts at SoftBank”, Sprint enters 2015 with “clear priorities”.
In addition to continuing the 2.5GHz LTE rollout, prioritising areas with the highest usage and capacity demands, Sprint is also looking to continue its 800MHz LTE buildout, to improve coverage (including indoors). “Today we are halfway there, and we expect to be substantially complete with our LTE 800MHz build by the end of 2015 in markets where the spectrum is available,” Saw said.
And the company “will continue to utilise some of the most advanced technologies in wireless – carrier aggregation for higher speeds, 8T8R radios for enhanced coverage and multi-antenna processing techniques like MIMO for higher capacity; along with tri-band LTE Sprint Spark devices for our best high speed data experience for our customers,” he continued.