SAN ANTONIO, Texas--Sprint Chief Technology Officer Stephen Bye stopped short of voicing support for Hotspot 2.0 technology, saying instead that Sprint would continue to watch the standard's evolution. However, Bye said Sprint would continue to research ways of providing quality wireless service, whether over licensed spectrum or unlicensed spectrum.
Despite wireless operators offering a variety of pricing discounts to some customers, the pricing turmoil in the market has not really impacted the Tier 1 carriers' bottom lines, according to analysts at New Street Research. In fact, the analysts say carriers are set to report stronger-than-expected quarterly subscribers for the first quarter, thanks in large part to booming tablet subscription adoptions.
Sprint will rely on its CDMA network and HD Voice technology for voice calling services for the foreseeable future, said Sprint Chief Network Officer John Saw. Saw said Sprint is investing in Voice over LTE technology, but doesn't have a timeline for deploying the service.
AT&T has been told by the Michigan Public Service Commission that it now has to file an IP service interconnection agreement with Sprint.
AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega waded into the fraught debate over whether Netflix should be forced to pay to interconnect its video traffic to subscribers. Speaking at the Rutberg Global Summit, de la Vega said that video is driving exponential traffic growth. "We have to provide additional capacity," he said. "The only question is who pays for that addition?"
Sprint's shakeup of its network executive team is continuing, with longtime Sprint executive Iyad Tarazi leaving the company. His departure comes just weeks after Sprint announced that Steve Elfman, president of network operations, and Bob Azzi, the carrier's senior vice president of networks, would be leaving the company.
Sprint is currently working with erstwhile suitor Dish Network on a trial of TD-LTE fixed wireless broadband service using Sprint's 2.5 GHz spectrum. However, analysts think there are plenty of opportunities for the companies to either expand the trial more broadly or work together in other ways that make use of their respective spectrum assets.
John Saw, Sprint's chief network officer, said that the carrier plans to expand its tri-band LTE Spark service to a two-carrier configuration toward the end of this year, which he said will result in peak download speeds of 120 Mbps. Then, by the end of 2015, Sprint plans to add another carrier to the configuration of its 2.5 GHz LTE network, which will result in three-carrier peak speeds of 180 Mbps.
Sprint, the nation's third largest wireless operator, is largely finished with the mammoth Network Vision network modernization project it started more than three years ago. The result, however, is an LTE service that only covers around 200 million people and is, by most measurements, the nation's slowest. Compare this to T-Mobile, which covered roughly the same number of people with LTE in half the time as Sprint with speeds that often rank at or near the top. And T-Mobile is enjoying significant momentum thanks to its "uncarrier" branding. Nonetheless, Sprint executives are arguing that 2014 is "th e year" for Sprint. I think that remains to be seen.
As the FCC works to finalize rules for next year's incentive auctions of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum, the lobbyists who work for the Tier 1 wireless carriers are seeing a booming industry.