On June 23rd, Sprint (S) held their Happy Connecting event in Chicago and although there was no jaw-dropping news, the company hosted a tower of a Sprint Spark cell site with Dr. John Saw, Chief Network Officer. “While we believe the announcements were received more as “ho-hum,” our cell site tour offered us more evidence that Sprint is indeed taking strides in the right direction with its network re-build,” Jennifer Fritzsche, Senior Analyst at Wells Fargo said. The tour was of a tri-band test site, where Sprint leverages its 8T8R technology on 2.5GHz, 1.9GHz (4T2R) and 800MHz (1T2R) radios. “Saw mentioned the technology also allows for multi-antenna processing (multi-mode MIMO). He mentioned 8×8 MIMO can achieve 4x speeds, and produce theoretical download speeds +1Gbps. With 3 carriers lit (60MHz total), theoretical speeds increase to +150Mbps. A software upgrade is required to light up each additional carrier. These cell sites improve urban coverage 20-25% (and help in-building coverage), suburban coverage by 50% and rural areas by 70%. S has deployed “hundreds” of these sites around the country thus far,” Fritzsche explained.
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