In the Citi 2012 Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse spoke to investors. In his comments, Mr. Hesse included some breaking news for Network Vision.
Dan Hesse announced that Network Vision will be launched in 10 markets by the end of June. This would include 4G-LTE deployments. He said it will be in 4 primary markets and 6 unnamed smaller markets. He named the primary markets as Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Atlanta. I wonder what the smaller markets will be?
Mr. Hesse discussed that the LTE Sprint is currently deploying is in the PCS G-Block, where they only have enough spectrum for one 5x5 FD-LTE carrier. He said that Sprint's goal is to get to 10x10 LTE carriers, through carrier aggregation advancements that will be available in 2013/2014 time frame with LTE Advanced.
Sprint will be deploying Voice on 800MHz initially in one carrier with Network Vision deployments now under way. Sprint devices with CDMA capability on 800MHz will be able to use them right away. Later LTE will be added on 800MHz too as iDEN is fully decommissioned. 800MHz voice coverage will significantly expand coverage and reduce burdensome roaming costs to Sprint.
"The technology to do Network Vision just did not exist a few years ago," Mr.Hesse said when speaking about the timing of Network Vision. He reiterated that this is the earliest time all the technological advancements are ready and mature enough to handle a rapid nationwide deployment. And we here at Sprint 4G Rollout Updates are hoping they indeed are going to be rapid!
Mr. Hesse acknowledged that the iDEN network has been a huge financial and resource drain on Sprint and since the merger they "have been kicking the can down the road" with iDEN. He says this philosophy is now coming to an end with Network Vision underway.
He warned investors that churn rates will go up now that they are removing Nextel customers from the iDEN network and trying to get them on to the new Sprint Direct Connect network. But decommissioning iDEN is more core to Sprint's long term strategies in reducing cost, simplifying the network andrepurposing the iDEN spectrum for LTE and voice.
Even though significant post-paid churn is going to result from the removal of the iDEN network, the cost savings are going to more than pay for those lost revenues. Mr. Hesse went on to say that iDEN decommissioning will add $5 Billion of savings that will go to fund the back half of Network Vision.
Mr. Hesse also made some comments about the LightSquared drama. He said that Sprint has put all activity in regards to integration and work on theLightSquared LTE network on hold. He said Sprint is ready and prepared to resume with LightSquared should progress be made. However, as Mr. Hesse proceeded, he played up Sprint's position with Clearwire as its long term spectrum resource.
Dan also mentioned that iPhone financial details will be coming out at the end of the month. In response to a question about Unlimited Data, Mr. Hesse mentioned that Sprint is planning to maintain unlimited offerings for the forseeable future. But warned that after Network Vision is deployed, Sprint may look at ways of identifying and removing unlimited data users who are abusing the system. You folks who tether your phones as your home ISP are on notice!
Sprint Market Maps of the announced markets:
EDITED 3/5/2012: To include market maps.