Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) announced that it amended contracts with cell tower leasing company Mobilitie that pertain to several hundred of its existing nationwide cell sites in a bid to deploy its Network Vision plans faster than expected.
Announced last year, Sprint's Network Vision plan calls for the deployment of new multi-mode base stations designed to give the operator greater technology flexibility and enable it to deploy LTE at minimal cost.
In particular, Sprint said the agreement offers it the flexibility it needs to deploy next-generation technologies and to effect its future migration from iDEN. It also will enable a quicker deployment of the Network Vision plan by allowing Sprint to operate existing and new Network Vision equipment simultaneously during the transition. And lastly, the modified deals will give Sprint the ability to utilize build-to-suit solutions to meet Sprint's Network Vision schedule.
Last month, Sprint similarly modified tower deals with Crown Castle to speed up the deployment of Network Vision. That agreement impacts more than 10,000 of Sprint's nationwide cell sites.
Since announcing its Network Vision plan in December, Sprint said it has been working with vendors Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Alcatel-Lucent (NASDAQ:ALU) and Samsung to plan, test and begin site preparations. In the lab, calls have successfully been completed on 800 MHz 1x voice, 1x data and SMS, the operator said, and 1900 MHz calls on 1x voice, 1x data, SMS and EVDO have also been completed. Work has begun on thousands of sites and renegotiation of existing contracts with tower companies is an important step in launching these sites later this year, Sprint said.
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