The push toward 5G is an ideal opportunity to reconsider the role of fixed networks, and how they should also be reengineered and operated in conjunction with the mobile networks. There is no reason why compelling network-architecture concepts and technologies including network-slicing, cloud, Network Functions Virtualization and Software-Defined Networking should be bounded by the pre-existing demarcation between fixed and mobile networks.
Carrier aggregation will pick up as the speed war, fueled by the never ending RootMetrics reports and the subsequent carrier press releases and earnings call citations. AT&T and Verizon's network transformations are "skating to where the puck will be" in an effort to become more agile and drive down costs. So far smaller Sprint and T-Mobile haven't seen this need. There's no doubt that more changes will come about this year.
T-Mobile US now covers 280 million POPs with LTE, according to CTO Neville Ray. The carrier had pledged to reach that coverage goal by the middle of this year, and thus appears to have reached that goal earlier than expected.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure left for Japan yesterday to meet with SoftBank CEO and Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son to discuss Sprint's network densification project. According to one Wall Street research firm, Sprint may soon boost its capital expenditures for 2015 once Son signs off on the plan.
Alcatel-Lucent said it is still dealing with lower carrier spending in the U.S. but still managed to boost its overall revenue in the first quarter and improve its gross margins on higher sales of software products.
After Sprint revealed that it burned through $914 million in cash in the first quarter, some analysts and investors questioned the company's long-term liquidity and its ability to turnaround its business. However, Sprint executives maintain that the company will continue to invest to acquire customers and improve its network, and it has enough money to do both.
Incoming Cisco Systems CEO Chuck Robbins is similar in many respects to the outgoing chief, John Chambers. Both are natural salesmen who understand Cisco's customers and resellers. While Robbins is in sync with Cisco's culture (he has been with the company since 1997), analysts and investors are questioning whether he has the technical acumen to help Cisco transition in a world of software-defined networking.
In the battle for marketshare, T-Mobile US is now putting its focus on competitor Verizon Wireless. With its new "Never Settle Trial" T-Mobile is offering Verizon customers the opportunity to try T-Mobile's network and service for up to two weeks at no cost.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said that the company is finalizing plans for a massive densification of its network using the company's 2.5 GHz spectrum. Called the "Sprint Next Generation Network," the plan calls for a balance of small cells and macrocells and promises an improvement to both network speed and capacity.
Sprint likely lost postpaid handset customers in the first quarter but could report stronger financial results when it posts its quarterly earnings tomorrow, according to Wall Street analysts at Evercore ISI. In a research note, Evercore analysts Jonathan Schildkraut and Justin Ages also wrote that network quality continues to be a problem for Sprint that will need to be addressed.