With the SoftBank buyout, will Sprint build the mother of all networks?
Before the acquisition, Clearwire was formulating plans for an LTE network that could support theoretical download speeds of 168 Mbps using just 40 MHz of its spectrum. Sprint could not only build such a network, it could build that same network capacity twice or possibly three times over as it optimizes its spectrum for mobile use and takes advantage of forthcoming LTE-Advanced technologies.
The keyword here isn’t speed — though Sprint can certainly build a fast network — it’s capacity. With more capacity Sprint can support more mobile broadband connections and deliver that service at a much lower cost to the consumer.
Sprint has some disadvantages. The 2.5 GHz airwaves aren’t the ideal airwaves for a nationwide network because their high-frequency signals don’t travel as far as the lower frequencies that AT&T and Verizon use. Also, Sprint has to use a variant of LTE called Time Division-LTE (TD-LTE) that no other U.S. operator is using, making it harder to get devices that work on its network.
But Sprint and its partners are solving those problems.