Can Sprint pull off the gigahertz strategy in the U.S?

Posted By on October 31, 2013

Because I’m in the midst of studying the next level of amateur radio theory and hoping to gain access to more HF Ham radio frequencies (ARRL PDF chart), a recent WSJ article regarding Sprint’s gigahertz frequencies made complete sense to me.

The gist of the article is that Sprint has a “giant trove of high-frequency spectrum” and is planning to grow in order to handle more and faster data connections … but due to the 2.5gHz frequency’s in ability to penetrate or travel as far requires 13 to 15 cell sites compared to the 700mHz spectrum’s 1 tower.

Sprint’s new Japanese owner Softbank is already using the high gigahertz frequency spectrum after it’s acquisition of Willcom in 2010, although they already had 160,000 micro cell sites to install the new equipment. That same rollout will not be as easy here in the U.S. where Sprint is already struggling to keep up with AT&T and Verizon. Unless the expansion is mind-bogglingly aggressive, hanging onto customers and making money may prove to be difficult even with the deep pockets of Softbank.

Sprint, the country’s third-largest carrier, has lost customers for several years and is believed to have lost more during in the third quarter. Last quarter, Sprint lost 1.05 million subscribers and warned that more defections were on the way.

Sprint’s advantage is that it has access to more airwaves than its competitors. Data and voice calls travel over the airwaves, known as spectrum, like cars on a highway. The more spectrum, the more lanes and therefore more speed.

Sprint has been selling wireless hot spots since July that work on its advanced network, and users have reported speeds rivaling Wi-Fi, which in the U.S. operates in a nearby band.



Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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