In concert with Sprint’s new holiday promotion, the carrier is making strides towards revamping its network.
During a Bank of America investor conference Tuesday, Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer gave a breakdown on the status of Sprint’s Network Vision initiative.
Sprint currently covers 260 million people with its 1900 MHz LTE, and 92 million on the company’s swath of 2.5 GHz spectrum. Euteneuer said that by year end, the carrier hopes to have fully 100 million people covered with its 800 MHz LTE deployment.
“I think from a network standpoint we have been waiting to get to this point of having a network that is substantially complete,” Euteneuer said, adding that he expects the number of people covered by the 1900 MHz deployment to continue to rise.
All the handsets Sprint sells are tri-band, and all but the iPhone 6 have Wi-Fi calling capabilities. Sprint expects the iPhone 6 will have an over-the-air update that will add Wi-Fi calling in the next 60 to 90 days.
Euteneuer acknowledged that Sprint’s network has been a weak spot for the carrier, saying that the company had been experiencing subscriber losses “associated with the network.” Service interruptions brought on by the rip-and-replace Network Vision initiative were compounded by the migration of customers from Sprint’s iDEN network. Sprint managed to convert 60 percent of iDEN subscribers, much better than the 30 percent the company had expected.
“All of that helped the top line but then as we exited 2013, you really saw the effects of the culmination of having the entire U.S. under construction, because we had touched so many towers,” he said.
But much of the pain associated with upgrading the network is behind Sprint, and Euteneuer was upbeat about where things are headed. He cited reducing expenses and churn as the key goals for Sprint going forward.
“If you can go from 750,000 a quarter loss to something close to zero in one quarter, that’s a miraculous recovery,” Euteneuer said, adding that “churn has got to come from both the benefit of involuntary churn reduction from now having more prime customers and to the voluntary churn associated with the much better network.”