Apple unveiled its new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which the company said feature 3D Touch that "senses force to enable intuitive new ways to access features and interact with content." The devices also sport Retina HD displays, 7000 series aluminum, and 12-megapixel cameras. Importantly, the phones support fully 23 bands of LTE, including the 700 MHz band 12 that T-Mobile US is using and Sprint's 2.5 GHz carrier aggregation.
Sprint inked a multi-year deal with LTE chipset, SIM card and service provisioning specialist Gemalto extend their relationship for Gemalto to help manage Sprint's LTE deployments. Sprint and Gemalto have worked together on LTE deployments since May 2012, shortly before Sprint launched LTE in July of that year.
Apple is likely going to unveil its newest iPhones tomorrow, expected to be called the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, and every major U.S. carrier will likely announce plans to carry the phones. However, for the first time since the iPhone was introduced in 2007, U.S. operators will be favoring equipment installment plans and leasing over two-year contracts, potentially creating a conundrum for both Apple and the carriers.
Sprint announced it will sell the new BB-8 App-Enabled Droid, a toy based on a character from the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie, in its stores-- including its new RadioShack stores-- and online. The carrier boasted that it is "the only wireless provider to offer the BB-8 nationwide."
Sprint is upping the ante for DirecTV customers who want to switch over to Sprint by offering them plans with larger data buckets, though the new plans are not free of charge like the earlier offer (which still stands).
T-Mobile US may be plowing ahead with its 700 MHz A Block deployment to enhance its LTE coverage, but it remains the carrier with the least low-band spectrum below 1 GHz, according to networking testing and mapping firm Mosaik Solutions. And although LTE coverage has expanded rapidly across the United States in the last few years, Mosaik notes that more than 30 percent of the U.S. land area has no LTE service available, a significant portion of that being in Alaska.
While the other big U.S. nationwide wireless operators have lodged their opinions in the great LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U)/Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) debate, Sprint has been quiet on the topic. Of course, it's got plenty of other things going on, but it's somewhat curious because the company plays in both the Wi-Fi and LTE camps.
For the last couple of years, some have viewed Sprint as the Rodney Dangerfield of wireless. Indeed, the carrier has seen mostly negative press and perception ranging from subscriber losses to poor network execution to unfortunate technology selection, to M&A problems, and the list goes on. Add in a negative macroeconomic environment, unprecedented competition and some bad luck contributed to keeping Sprint down. Here's how I think Sprint got to its "no respect" predicament.
Sprint has a clear message for wireless startups: work with us. The carrier said that in 2016, the Sprint Accelerator, powered by Techstars, will expand its scope from just mobile healthcare to all kinds of mobile technologies as Sprint looks to provide funding for startups.
U.S. wireless carriers will eventually shift to smartphone leasing and away from equipment installment plans, according to analysts at Macquarie Capital. Further, they think the operators could get a boost in leasing by partnering with Apple, which would stand to benefit from a move to leasing.