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Can Sprint become the data king in 2014?
Last summer, Sprint acquired TDD spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band from Clearwire. According to a recent report from Strategy Analytics, this will be a “powerful resource” for Sprint that will allow it to catch up to its competitors. The report notes that Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum is key to enabling the operator to become the “king of data speed.”
Sprint absolutely has the tools in place to build one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, LTE network in the country. Unfortunately, we have been waiting since 2008 to get this so-called powerful 4G network from Sprint and nothing has materialized. At the moment, Sprint has a long way to go if they want to be anywhere near the top with the slowest speeds in the country, the least amount of coverage in major cities and the smallest overall capacity. Last week, Sprint’s own boss called their 4G network “horrible.”
Additionally, the report may backfire on Sprint due to recent actions by the FCC who are reviewing the spectrum screen it uses when assessing industry mergers and acquisitions and whether spectrum caps are needed in the upcoming 600 MHz auctions in order to equalize spectrum holdings among U.S. mobile operators.
In February, Sprint asked the FCC to devise a “weighted wireless broadband spectrum screen” that would come into play when the government auctions off spectrum in reference to lower band spectrum owned by Verizon and AT&T. Basically, Sprint wants the FCC to give competitive advantages to spectrum under 1GHz.
Both AT&T and Verizon responded with statements that accuse Sprint of excluding its 2.5GHz TDD spectrum from this category so that it can bid for more spectrum at the upcoming 600MHz auction, while making it difficult for the top two carriers to effect a winning bid.
AT&T and Verizon whining about Sprint and their spectrum acquisitions is hilarious when you consider that AT&T told the world that they would collapse unless they could buy T-Mobile while Verizon uses spectrum fears whenever they need a political favor.