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Sprint’s Network Ramp-Up across Spectrum Holdings Will Continue


Mar. 31 2015, Updated 4:05 p.m. ET

Sprint’s spectrum portfolio

In the last part of this series, we learned about the improvement in Sprint’s (S) voice services due to its deployment on the coverage spectrum. We also learned that spectrums, with frequencies under 1 GHz (gigahertz), help in coverage over long distances and in-building penetration.

Now, we’ll look at Sprint’s initiatives to leverage its spectrum holdings across the coverage and capacity spectrums. Sprint’s spectrum portfolio is dominated by high frequency and high capacity spectrums. These spectrums can withstand high network traffic. They’re especially useful for providing high data traffic capacities. This is especially helpful for smartphone users—like Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone—who tend to use large amounts of data.

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Expanding LTE on coverage spectrum

Sprint expects significant improvement in its LTE (Long-Term Evolution) deployment. According to the company, Sprint expanded its 800 MHz (megahertz) LTE rollout. The LTE rollout in this spectrum band now has coverage greater than 60%. The company plans to complete the deployment of the remaining coverage by the end of 2015.

Sprint’s network capacity

Apart from bolstering overall network quality, Sprint is focusing on taking advantage of its high capacity spectrum holdings. The company has a significant holding in high capacity spectrums within its portfolio—compared to the national carriers like Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T), and T-Mobile (TMUS).

The company expects to leverage on its high frequency 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings to increase its capacity across the board. Now, the company completed LTE deployment covering 125 million people on this high capacity spectrum. It plans to improve its network by adding more cell towers. It also plans to complete other enhancements across the spectrum holdings.

You can get diversified exposure to Sprint by investing in the iShares U.S. Telecommunications ETF (IYZ). IYZ held ~4.6% in the company on March 5, 2015.


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