With a renewed focus on networks, Sprint tech chief to answer customer questions during Reddit AMA

Günther Ottendorfer, COO of technology at Sprint

Sprint’s Günther Ottendorfer is scheduled to conduct an “ask me anything” session on the popular website Reddit next week, a further effort by the nation’s No. 4 carrier to boast of the progress it is making on improving the performance of its network.

Reddit announced that Ottendorfer, COO of technology at Sprint, “will be joining us for an AMA on September 12 from 1:30 - 2:30pm CT.” He was named Technical COO at Sprint in August 2015.

“The Sprint reddit moderators reached out to him with an invitation and he thought it would be great to meet the community, answer questions, and share some of his experiences,” Adrienne Norton confirmed to FierceWireless. “Our network has made great strides and the gap with the market leader is smaller than ever before but lagging perception is still a challenge so it’s important that we talk directly to wireless consumers – both fans of Sprint as well as those that maybe had a bad experience in the past.”

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Reddit, which according to Alexa is the world’s 26th biggest website, has hosted a wide range of so-called AMAs (ask me anything) sessions during the past few years, including with President Barak Obama, Apple’s Steve Wozniak, Elon Musk and others. AMAs allow Reddit users to pose questions to participants, and others can “upvote” their favorite questions in an attempt to get them answered (though participants can choose to answer whatever questions they wish).

Few of the nation’s wireless players have focused on the site. Instead, executives like T-Mobile’s John Legere and Sprint’s Marcelo Claure have become active on Twitter, directly interacting with some customers.

It’s unclear exactly what Ottendorfer will discuss during his AMA, but recent announcements by Verizon and T-Mobile have helped put a spotlight directly onto wireless carriers’ network efforts. Specifically, Verizon last week announced it has launched two- and three-channel carrier aggregation as part of its move to the LTE Advanced network standard, claiming to bring 50 percent faster peak data speeds to its customers in 461 cities. And the nation’s largest carrier backed the launch with an aggressive marketing campaign.

Then, today, T-Mobile countered that it also offers carrier aggregation, and has also deployed 4x4 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) to 319 cities. “We’ve already launched seven LTE Advanced technologies – more than anyone else in the industry. (For those keeping score, they are VoLTE with eSRVCC, Carrier Aggregation, CoMP, SON, HetNets, EVS and higher order modulation.)  Already, one of those technologies – Voice over LTE (VoLTE) – carries roughly 60% of calls on our network, far more than any of the carriers. Our LTE Advanced is so much more advanced than the competition, it ought to be called LTE Advanceder,” wrote T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray on the company’s website.

Thus, Ottendorfer likely will use his AMA session in part to outline Sprint’s own progress on moving to LTE Advanced technologies (already the carrier has boasted of reaching 300 Mbps speeds with three-channel carrier aggregation).

Sprint has been working to improve both the performance of its network and – perhaps most importantly – customer perception about its network. For example, Sprint’s latest marketing jab is that its network reliability is within 1 percent of Verizon's – a claim that Verizon has recently responded to in its own line of advertisements.

For more:
- see this Reddit announcement

Related articles:
Verizon exec hints at ongoing MIMO deployment efforts
Verizon launches 2- and 3-channel carrier aggregation, increasing data speeds by 50%
Sprint posts 173K postpaid phone net adds, $302M net loss

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