Sprint executives think that the company's nationwide deployment of Clearwire's 2.5 GHz spectrum will help it catch up to LTE market leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility, according to a financial analyst research note.
Both Sprint and AT&T are expected to deploy LTE on thousands of additional cell tower sites, including sites gained through acquisitions and subsequently repurposed, which will lift the bottom lines of independent tower companies, according to a new report from Moody's Investors Service.
In the second quarter of 2013, the industry grew by 335,000 subscribers, which is the lowest subscriber-add number this millennium. A significant reason for the low growth is that approximately 1 million Lifeline connections had to be disconnected because the carriers were unable to verify eligibility. The industry make-up also changed considerably in Q2.
Sprint plans to finish its deployment of its Network Vision network equipment by the middle of 2014, later than it had previously indicated, according to a securities filing.
Sprint's decision to launch a nationwide TD-LTE network using Clearwire's 2.5 GHz spectrum could be a big win for the tower companies that will supply the sites for the buildout, according to an analysis by New Street Research.
Sprint will be able to deploy Clearwire's 2.5 GHz spectrum for TD-LTE service on a nationwide basis now that it is flush with fresh capital from SoftBank, which now controls 78 percent of Sprint, according to Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer. Sprint formally took control of Clearwire earlier this month.
Sprint reported a steeper-than-expected net loss for the second quarter and shed more than 2 million total wireless customers in the period, with much of that related to its June 30 shutdown of its Nextel iDEN network.
Sprint is chugging along toward its goal of covering 200 million POPs with LTE by the end of 2013, but the pace of its deployment has lagged its Tier 1 competitors, including late-comer T-Mobile US, which launched LTE in March and now covers 157 million POPs in 116 markets. Sprint's LTE deployment has been hindered by a variety of factors, ranging from not enough fiber backhaul to issues related to its wide-ranging Network Vision network modernization project.
Sprint soon will begin selling devices that can access LTE services across three separate bands: 800 MHz, 1900 MHz and 2.5 GHz. The carrier currently sells LTE devices that can access LTE on its 800 MHz and 1900 MHz spectrum, and starting later this week the carrier will add 2.5 GHz to that lineup.
After months of wrangling, Sprint has completed its purchase of the remaining 49 percent of Clearwire that it didn't already own. The transaction closed less than one day after Clearwire shareholders approved it in a special meeting held July 8.