Ever heard of Kankakee, Ill.? The Midwestern city is making some headlines today because it's home to the first cluster of Sprint LTE cell towers. In its announcement, Sprint said that its completing field testing with the new towers and that it's on track to complete the "majority" of its Network Vision rollout in 2013. Sprint also pointed out that it launched its first multi-modal base station in Branchburg, N.J., earlier this year.
Sounds good! We're glad to be getting an update on Sprint's Network Vision project and the progress of its LTE rollout, even if it is kind of a bummer that we won't actually see any devices capable of accessing that LTE network until the second half of next year. Baby steps and all that, though, right? Sprint says that it'll make more announcements concerning the timing of its LTE markets and products early next year, so we'll be sure to keep our ears open and pass along the details as we get them. The full presser announcing the news about Sprint's first LTE cluster can be found below.
Sprint delivers 3G network upgrades coast-to-coast, marks significant milestones in Network Vision deployment
As 2011 draws to a close, Sprint customers from New York City to San Francisco now enjoy enhanced 3G coverage, resulting in faster data speeds and fewer dropped calls
LTE deployment is on track for 2013
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), December 27, 2011 - As part of its Network Vision program, Sprint (NYSE:S) doubled its 2011 capital investment over 2010 to make tens of thousands of capacity upgrades, resulting in a better wireless experience for its customers. Smartphone penetration is expected to double over the next four years.* With Network Vision, Sprint is making it easier for data to travel, so its smartphone customers – who use on average 10 times more data than feature phone customers* – can use their devices the way they were intended.
As a result of the network improvements across the country, voice service is enhanced and Sprint customers can expect to see better performance on their smartphones, mobile broadband connection cards and mobile hotspots when using the Sprint 3G network. Performance improvements include:
Faster data speeds that enable instant web access for news updates, HD viewing and game-playing, quicker video downloads and clear video chats
Better signal strength when making a call or using the web
Fewer dropped calls for peace of mind when talking to friends, family or colleagues
“With the network investments we made in 2011 and as the only national wireless carrier to offer truly unlimited data plans while on the Sprint network, we continue to offer better value than Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T.” said Bob Azzi, SVP – Network, Sprint. “But our commitment to an exceptional wireless experience doesn’t stop there. Sprint's on an aggressive path to roll out Network Vision, and in collaboration with our partners, have already achieved many significant milestones that offer improved customer experience on the Sprint 3G network, and we expect to maintain and even accelerate this momentum in 2012.”
Throughout 2011, Sprint achieved a number of significant milestones in the deployment of Network Vision. It is on track to offer LTE devices by mid-year 2012 and complete the majority of its Network Vision rollout in 2013. Sprint expects to make additional announcements about the timing of LTE markets and devices early next year. Milestones include:
Completed development and integration of back-office systems to support the new base stations to ensure a seamless rollout
Finished lab testing of all components of the Network Vision platform, eliminating most technical risks of the program and validating rapid LTE deployment schedule
Launched Sprint Direct Connect® on CDMA and introduced three devices, allowing our iDEN customers to move to a truly mobile data experience with a comparable platinum push-to-talk experience
Launched first multi-modal base station in Branchburg, N.J., and validated improved 3G data performance metrics, such as voice quality, drops and blocks and data speeds
Launched first cluster of cell sites in Kankakee, Ill. and completing field integration testing
Nationwide, Sprint is overhauling its entire network and replacing existing equipment with the newest, most advanced equipment available in the industry through a program called Network Vision. Announced in December 2010, Network Vision is planned to consolidate multiple network technologies into one seamless network with the goal of increasing efficiency and enhancing network coverage, call quality and data speeds for customers.
Network Vision and the recent upgrades reflect Sprint’s commitment to customer service, which tied for the No. 1 spot among major wireless carriers for customer satisfaction in the 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index. The survey showed Sprint as the most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all industries, over the past three years.
For a detailed look at capacity upgrades in different markets, visit www.sprint.com/network.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 53 million customers at the end of 3Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index showed Sprint is the #1 most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all industries, over the last three years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
*Source: Mobile Access 2010, PEW INTERNET & AMERICAN LIFE PROJECT
"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
* This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the securities laws. The statements in this news release regarding network performance, coverage and capabilities, business and network efficiencies, migration of services new technologies, timing of deployment, and products and services, as well as other statements that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements. The words “estimate,” “project,” “forecast,” intend,” “expect,” “believe,” “target,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are estimates and projections reflecting management’s judgment based on currently available information and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements. With respect to these forward-looking statements, management has made assumptions regarding, among other things, development and deployment of new technologies; efficiencies and cost savings of multimode technologies; customer and network usage; customer growth and retention; service, coverage and quality; availability of devices; the timing of various events and the economic environment. Sprint Nextel believes these forward-looking statements are reasonable; however, you should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which are based on current expectations and speak only as of the date of this release. Sprint Nextel is not obligated to publicly release any revisions to forward-looking statements to reflect events after the date of this release. Sprint Nextel provides a detailed discussion of risk factors in periodic SEC filings, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2010, in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” and in Part II, Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” of its quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2011.