by Scott Santi
Head of Network Deployment & Operations
June 05, 2018

The Sprint Network has come a long way in the past few years with improved performance for our millions of customers. And with our Next-Gen Network major multi-year investment, we’re working to further enhance coverage, reliability, and speed across our nationwide LTE network as we prepare to launch the first 5G mobile network in the U.S in the first half of 2019.

One key part of Sprint’s Next-Gen Network build is focused on upgrading cell sites to triband service. Let’s take a deeper look at our triband updates and the positive impact they have for our customers.

 

Using Our Three Spectrum Bands

Spectrum is invisible radio waves that wireless traffic travels on and Sprint has more spectrum than any other carrier in the U.S. We have three spectrum bands -- 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz -- and each does something special. When we upgrade our cell sites to use all three spectrum bands together, customers get our fastest, most reliable service.

  • 800 MHz extends our voice and data coverage into more locations, including indoors where the majority of wireless traffic is generated.
  • 1.9 GHz is our broad coverage layer providing reliable voice and data service across our nationwide network.
  • 2.5 GHz provides customers with super-fast data speeds to be able to enjoy faster downloads, video streaming and all your favorite apps and services.

When our customers are on our 2.5 GHz band, they get our fastest average download speed. This is why we’re blanketing the country with this powerful spectrum. We now have 2.5 GHz deployed on roughly 60% of our macro sites and expect to complete the substantial majority of our tri-band upgrades by the end of fiscal 2018.

We continually have crews in the field climbing towers and adding new equipment to our cell sites in order to make them triband. Our teams have installed thousands of these upgrades which are on-air in cities and towns both big and small across the country.

Creating Better Customer Experiences

In fact, the triband upgrades we’ve done over the last year have helped drive a 34.5% increase in our national average download speed.1

Today Sprint is also #1 for fastest average download speed in more than 100 cities according to Ookla Speedtest Intelligence data, including cities Austin, Denver, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and Seattle, as well as Sprint markets Central Illinois, Colorado, Indianapolis, South Texas, Upper Central Valley and West Kentucky.2 

  • Across Pittsburgh, our customers are having an outstanding data experience because nearly all of our macro cell sites are now triband, with more than a hundred upgrades made in the past year.
  • The availability of 800 MHz in Seattle has been a huge boost for the network, providing better in-building coverage and increasing overall time on LTE.
  • At SXSW in March, Sprint customers had a great experience on our network with more 2.5 GHz cell sites deployed in downtown Austin prior to the festival. Today more than 75% of the market has triband service with more upgrades on the way.

It’s exciting to see that the execution of our strategic plan is working. Our plan is designed to utilize Sprint’s spectrum assets in order to create a better network experience for our customers today on 4G as we prepare for Sprint 5G next year.

-- Scott Santi

 

1 Based on Ookla’s analysis of Speedtest Intelligence data comparing May 2017 to May 2018 for all mobile results.

2 Sprint’s analysis of Speedtest Intelligence data from 3/1/18 to 5/31/18 for all mobile results.