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Sprint ramps LTE with 100-city rollout

Tue, 09/11/2012 - 3:28pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Sprint plans to turn on its LTE network in more than 100 new cities in the coming months as it moves aggressively to catch up with Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

The operator said Monday construction was underway in markets including Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Installation of LTE equipment is in "various stages" in every city, Sprint communications manager Heather Wong said. Specific launch dates have not been announced. A full list of the cities is available in Sprint's announcement.

"We're definitely on track in our plans," Wong said.

Sprint expects to have its LTE build-out largely completed by the end of next year, along with the rest of its network modernization efforts.

The 100-city rollout is a considerable ramp from Sprint's current 19-city LTE footprint. Verizon Wireless' LTE network is available in more than 370 markets, and AT&T's LTE service is live in about 60 markets.

Investors are keeping a close eye on Sprint's execution of the complex network overhaul, which has it simultaneously decommissioning its iDEN network and replacing its base stations with new multimode equipment that supports LTE.

The operator, which carries a significant amount of debt on its balance sheet, is hinging its turnaround efforts on network improvements and the LTE deployment.

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