Sprint adding as many as 20,000 cell towers
According to a report published on Thursday, Sprint plans on expanding its LTE capabilities by adding up to 20,000 new cell towers in the country and repurposing existing towers. The source of this information requested anonymity because he works with Sprint and the plans have not yet been made public. The figure is not final, according to the tipster, and there is no time frame for the completion of this task.
In addition to the possible 20,000 new towers, Sprint will keep the 10,000 towers it received from its acquisition of Clearwire. While 7000 of these towers support TD-LTE service, they don't have CDMA radios. Part of the work Sprint is planning on doing includes adding CDMA radios to some of these towers. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has said that the mobile operator will invest in its infrastructure and spectrum including using carrier aggregation in the 800MHz, 1900 MHz and 2 5 GHz bands. Sprint has an average 120MHz of 2.5GHz spectrum in 90 of the top 100 markets that it can use to increase speed and capacity.
One of the reasons for Sprint's struggles has been problems with its network. RootMetric's second half 2014 drive test had Sprint third in network reliability and last for network speed. Currently, the mobile operator covers 125 million POPs with 2.5GHz TD-LTE service, a number it hopes to increase this year.
According to S4GRU, Sprint has two expansion plans ongoing. Project Ocean covers 100 former U.S. Cellular sites in Missouri and Central Illinois. Some of these sites are already live with the balance expected to be turned on in 6 to 8 months. Project Cedar is designed to add 230 cites in Montana. Sprint bought these assets from Chinook Wireless back in August of 2014, and plans on converting the sites to dual-band and tri-band sites. Both of these plans are said to already be funded.
source: FierceWireless, S4GRU