Sprint’s network improvements continue
Network performance is the key factor that affects customer retention for a telecom company. Sprint’s (S) network continues to improve despite reductions in capital expenditure. Sprint’s strong postpaid phone net additions in fiscal 3Q16 indicate that the network is becoming more competitive with its larger peers. Sprint improves network speeds via carrier aggregation and a denser deployment of 2.5 GHz spectrum. Sprint’s management expects network densification to improve the churn rate.
According to a RCRWireless report, “Sprint CTO John Saw said the carrier will continue to focus on adding coverage and capacity ‘where it’s needed,’ including further expansion of its three-channel carrier aggregation network technology and the use of its recently announced high performance user equipment device technology.”
During Sprint’s fiscal 3Q16 earnings conference call, Sprint’s management indicated that the carrier has deployed three-channel carrier aggregation in more than 100 markets, which is expected to provide download speeds of more than 200 Mbps on capable devices.
Now let’s look at the network performance of the top four US wireless carriers according to RootMetrics. Third-party data evaluations continue to point to improvements in Sprint’s network quality. In 125 markets, Sprint won nearly 50% more first place RootScore Awards in the second half of 2016 than in the first half. This amounts to 246 first-place awards during the second half of 2016 compared with 166 first-place awards in the first half of 2016.
Sprint’s call performance
According to the RootScore report on the second half of 2016, nationally, Sprint earned scores of 86.4 and 88.6 for call performance and network reliability, respectively. In call performance, Sprint outperformed both AT&T (T) and T-Mobile (TMUS). Sprint maintained third place in overall performance, network reliability, and text performance. Verizon (VZ) was at the top across all six network performance categories: overall performance, network reliability, speed, data, call performance, and text performance.