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New iPhone 6S could let Sprint network shine

Matt Hamblen | Sept. 11, 2015
With carrier aggregation in Denver, Sprint is starting to double speeds for newest phones.

Having two 20MHz channels working in tandem to deliver data over LTE (and eventually Voice over LTE) is like having two large straws to suck soda out of glass, which is far more effective than using one straw or even a large straw and a small one.

Faster network speeds are one vital component for improving Sprint's prospects, Claure noted. He also cited better customer service and pricing plans that include the first phone leasing plan in the industry. He argued that Apple had copied that move in its announcements on Wednesday.

Claure seems to understand what Sprint is up against. "We expect to be the number one or number two network in the next 24 months," he said, even as he acknowledged that Sprint is now in third place in speeds or overall network effectiveness.

"We have more spectrum than any other carrier on the planet," Claure said. "We feel extremely positive that we'll have one of the biggest turnarounds in telecom history."

A recent blog by John Saw, the CTO at Sprint, offers more specifics on Sprint's potential. Saw noted that Sprint has about 120MHz of 2.5GHz spectrum in 90 of the top 100 U.S. cities. He said Sprint began using the 2.5GHz spectrum to roll out two-channel carrier aggregation on "select sites" in 80 markets across the U.S.

"Cell sites with the capability are delivering double the capacity and speed in markets like Denver," Saw said. "And you ain't seen nothing yet. Our engineers are already working on three-channel carrier aggregation, which will deliver even high capacities and speeds, just when the competitor's networks are starting to congest."

In his remarks, Claure noted the importance of increased network capacity through carrier aggregation and others means. That's especially true for features like 4K video, which is coming to the iPhone 6S, he said. 4K video quadruples the resolution on a screen and increases the data on a network.

Sprint's future is brighter, Claure said, than when he arrived as CEO a year ago. "Sprint was perceived to be on a decline, with problems with the network and customer experience. Let's be honest, a lot of people had written off Sprint and other carriers were taking customers from Sprint. But we surprised people with recent results.

"We had 2 million customers [in 2014], but added 3.5 million more in the latest year; our stock was up and down, but has been up 55% this month alone," he said.

 

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