Sprint's femtocell tally tops 1M

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Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) said the number of femtocells deployed in its network now tops 1 million, an increase of 50,000 since late July when the company disclosed in an FCC filing that it had deployed 950,000.

Sprint has been rapidly deploying femtocells and has said its goal is to deploy 1 million of the devices. In May the carrier announced that it had 600,000 femtocells in its network--which was a dramatic jump from the 250,000 femtocells Sprint said it had deployed as of March of 2011.

Fared Adib, senior vice president of product development and operations at Sprint Nextel, told FierceWireless about the milestone, noting that it is one of many company achievements that he is planning to tout today at the company's Open Solutions Conference in San Jose, Calif.

Adib also said that Sprint is on track to launch 15 LTE devices this year. The company has launched 11 so far and will announce more in the coming weeks. Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse revealed last month at an investor conference that the operator has sold 1 million LTE devices so far, even though its LTE network is tiny compared with the LTE networks of its larger competitors.

Sprint launched its LTE network in July in a handful of markets, but the carrier expects to cover 123 million POPs by year-end. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) LTE network currently covers 75 percent of the U.S. population, around 235 million POPs, and the carrier plans to hit 260 million POPs by year-end. AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) LTE network covers more than 135 million POPs, and the carrier plans to expand that to 150 million POPs by year-end.

Interestingly, Adib also said that the company has obtained 500 patents, and has more patents than competitors Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA. "It speaks loudly to the fact that we are No. 3 operator but trying to lead and be No. 1 in many areas," Adib noted.

For more:
- see this On the Hot Seat interview with Fared Adib

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