Sprint Continues Slow 4G LTE Rollout

by Matt Klassen on July 30, 2013

Sprint is poised to rollout its 4G LTE network to the citizens of New York   City by the end of the month, tech site CNET has learned, but only in two of the city’s five major boroughs. The fact that Sprint will unveil 4G LTE to only those living in Brooklyn and Bronx is emblematic of the problems with the company’s entire nationwide LTE network strategy: late, disjointed, and piecemeal.

In the race for full nationwide 4G LTE coverage Sprint lags agonizingly far behind all the country’s other major carriers, including T-Mobile, and it’s a race Sprint can not afford to lose. The company has been plagued by a myriad of issues, however, none greater than the fact the company joined the LTE development race late due to its gamble on its rival WiMax technology, which ultimately fell to the wayside.

Simply put, while its rival carriers continue to expand the reach and power of the wireless superhighway, Sprint seems perpetually stuck in the slow lane, with small victories like its partial NY City LTE rollout clouded by the fact that there’s still so much that has yet to be done.

Two years ago, following the scuttling of the company’s failed WiMax experiment, Sprint proposed an aggressive 4G LTE rollout, promising it would catch the rest of the pack in short order. Fast-forward to today, however, and the promise of a nationwide network still seems a long way off. But its not as if Sprint isn’t working hard, its just had more than its fair share of distractions over that time.

As CNET writer Roger Cheng explains, “Sprint’s problems are legion: it has faced four-straight quarters of subscriber losses thanks to its now defunct Nextel network; the prospect of a resurgent T-Mobile looking to shake up the market; and two larger rivals in Verizon Wireless and AT&T looking to further hammer the company. The slow deployment of its LTE network makes Sprint even less competitive at a time when the carriers are scrambling to grab a shrinking base of customers.”

Not only that, but Sprint’s focus over the past year has been dominated by the takeover bidding wars betweenJapan’s Softbank and Dish Network, saying nothing about Sprint’s own row with the latter over the acquisition of Clearwire.

With some of these distractions now fading in the rearview mirror, one would hope that Sprint could now focus its entire attention to the continued development of its 4G LTE network, in hopes, I would assume, of achieving a workable nationwide 4G network sometime before 5G network technology arrives on the scene.

For its part, Sprint seems frustrated by the slow rollout of its own 4G LTE as well, but acknowledges that given the company’s current reality, this is as good as things get. “We all would like this to go faster,” said Iyad Tarazi, head of network development and integration for Sprint. “If there was a silver bullet, we would have found one.”

In the end, Sprint customers can take heart in the fact that a nationwide 4G LTE network is coming, but as it was with the likes of AT&T and Verizon the network rollout will be piecemeal, understandably cold comfort given that Sprint’s competitors are so far ahead.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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