Sprint’s Günther Ottendorfer plans to return to Reddit next week to conduct another “ask me anything” session. The action reiterates Sprint’s and Ottendorfer’s efforts to highlight the company’s progress and raise its social media profile.
Ottendorfer, COO of technology at Sprint, conducted his first Reddit AMA in September, and during the question-and-answer session he discussed Sprint’s network and handset plans. Although he didn’t provide many specifics, he did address a number of issues including the company’s progress on its network densification effort, its small cell rollout, its usage of spectrum bands and its handset BYOD stipulations.
Ottendorfer’s most interesting comments during the AMA in September related to Sprint’s progress on Voice over LTE technology and its reliance on femtocells (which are essentially mini-base stations users can install in their home to create a bubble of cellular coverage where Sprint’s macro network may not reach). Specifically, he said “VoLTE is on our roadmap and we'll make the move as soon as we can ensure that our customers have an even superior voice experience than today. It is tied to our densification and optimization strategy.” On femtocells, Ottendorfer confirmed that LTE femtocells would be made available to Sprint customers at some point, adding: “stay tuned.” Sprint has in the past offered 3G femtocells to users who need additional cellular coverage.
Ottendorfer also hinted that Sprint would eventually switch on 256-QAM network technology to increase users’ speeds, though he did not provide details or a timetable.
On less newsy topics, Ottendorfer said his workday typically starts around 7:30 a.m. “and goes till 8 or 9 pm, unless we have a call with our Chairman, Masa Son and then it goes until midnight.” He also boasted that he’s the “highest ranked Austrian Badminton player in Overland Park, maybe even in all of Kansas!”
According to a Reddit post, Ottendorfer’s next AMA is scheduled for Dec. 16.
Reddit, which according to Alexa is the world’s 26th biggest website, has hosted a wide range of so-called AMA (ask me anything) sessions during the past few years, including with President Barack 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 whichever 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.
Other wireless executives though have shied away from the spotlight. For example, AT&T’s Glenn Lurie said earlier this year that “We don’t need to go out and have Twitter spats to go grow the business.”