Why Sprint is working on improving its network quality and speed

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Sprint’s network speed performance is the worst among major U.S. telecom players

In the previous part of this series, we discussed how Sprint (S) continues to lose subscribers because of its network overhaul from 3G to 4G technology. Since this transition is taking too long, it has affected the Sprint network’s overall performance. According to a report from RootScore, Sprint’s speed index has been the worst among all major telecom players in the U.S.

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As the chart below shows, Verizon (VZ) topped the network speed index for the first half of 2014. AT&T (T) and T-Mobile (TMUS) followed Verizon in the performance index. But Sprint’s speed index was low at 54.2. Verizon’s network performance is considered the best, as we discussed in a Market Realist article titled Why Verizon’s network is considered the best 4G network.

Telecom speed index

Sprint’s looking to provide improved data speeds

All is not lost for Sprint in terms of network performance. Although the network transition took too long, Sprint claims that it’s almost complete now. During the conference call to announce its 2Q14 earnings, Sprint’s management mentioned that it has partnered with chip maker Qualcomm (QCOM) to provide peak data speeds in excess of 150 Mbps on its devices. Sprint plans to provide this technology from the first half of 2015.

Sprint also mentioned that it’s making good progress deploying its LTE on 800 MHz spectrum, which now reaches one-third of Sprint’s footprint. These achievements are helping Sprint reach better speeds in select places. Sprint mentioned that, according to RootMetrics testing at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, its LTE speeds showed 20 times improvement between September 2013 and May 2014.

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