We’ve been following Sprint’s 4G LTE expansion for years now, and I think we’ve all come to expect by now that Sprint seems to move at a snail’s pace. That’s slowly changing, now that Softbank is in control, and if information obtained by S4GRU is to be believed, Sprint’s LTE coverage is about to get a ton better: While the carrier works to convert old Nextel iDEN sites to CDMA/LTE on 800MHz, the carrier will also roll out thousands of new dualband, triband, and Spark sites to improve coverage in rural and metro markets alike – to the tune of 9,000 new LTE sites.
Specifically, here’s what S4GRU says the expansion will look like:
1,100 – Decommissioned iDEN sites converted for new Sprint CDMA/LTE coverage and increased density in some key under served areas (Dualband and Triband)
1,600 – New coverage expansion sites targeting high roaming areas and key identified market expansion areas (Dualband and Triband)
800 – New Dualband sites in exurban and new suburban areas places with new or projected population growth
500 – New Triband sites in Urban and Suburban areas to infill coverage where 1900 and 2600 currently do not reach or reach well and 800 capacity would also be improved
5,000 – New Urban and Suburban TDD-LTE 2600 “Spark” only sites infilling existing coverages for better signal quality, indoor performance, and capacity. It is not known if these are all macro sites or a mix of macro and pico cells.
This large initiative joins smaller projects Sprint already has in the works. Project Ocean is focused on Illinois and Missouri, while Project Cedar is building up coverage in Montana. S4GRU provides this map of what’s potentially in the works.