Sprint vs. Verizon Standoff on Network Reliability and Capex

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Verizon wasn’t happy about Sprint stealing their “Can you hear me now?” spokesperson or Sprint’s efforts to suggest that Sprint’s network reliability performs within 1% of AT&T and Verizon‘s networks. Verizon issued their own press release full of pretty interesting facts that attempt to demonstrate that network reliability is important- but that Verizon’s network is far more extensive and they have devoted far more resources to their network performance. Verizon can’t overtly come out and say that they think that Sprint is gaming the third party network analyzers by focusing their limited capex on improving metrics in enough markets to make claims like they have, knowing that no third party analyzer can test the breadth of coverage and capacity that Verizon has built into their network. So instead- they provide the following:

Verizon points out that they have invested over $116B in the last 16 years- more than any other wireless company, which included $5B over the first 6 months of 2016.

Most importantly, we get to see some real numbers on the number of macrocells, small cells, and DAS systems deployed by Verizon in 2016. Here are what Verizon indicates that they have deployed in 2016. (On small cells, Verizon isn’t clear in their press release whether this is total or just in 2016. Personally, I would have thought it was high for just 2016, but low for a longer timeframe).

Small Cells=     2,100

DAS Systems:      350

Macrocells:     1,500

Site Mods:     1,700

I sincerely doubt that we won’t see any similar response from Sprint. For reference, here are our best guesses as to Sprint’s network efforts in 2016 to date. If you think otherwise, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Small Cells=      200

DAS Systems: 50

Macrocells:      100

Site Mods:     2,000

One thing I find interesting is that Verizon indicates that their network “is engineered to provide, on average, 5Mbps to 12 Mbps while downloading and 2Mbps to 5Mbps while uploading.” The key here being that this is the AVERAGE of their entire network. This seems to me to be a veiled challenge to Sprint to respond with the design standard for Sprint’s entire network, not just the areas they focused their limited network capex on to improve their 3rd Party analyzed test results.

Whatever the case, I love seeing the actual site deployment numbers from Verizon. Unfortunately, given the lack of activity by AT&T and Sprint this year, we won’t see similar disclosures by them. T-Mobile is a wild card in terms of disclosure.

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    4 thoughts on “Sprint vs. Verizon Standoff on Network Reliability and Capex”

    1. Verizon points out that they have invested over $116B in the last 16 years- more than any other wireless company, which included $5B over the first 16 months of 2016.

      Uh…there are only 12 months in a year…

    2. According to S4GRU Sprint has at least 200 Small Cells deployed in NYC alone and they likely only started doing so earlier this summer. There are reports of small cells in other cities, namely Los Angeles and Miami as well which puts Sprint over that 200 number pretty easily. In terms of macros and site modifications, your numbers could very well be correct but I am not certain.

    3. Thank you for the input – it is a bit of a moving target. We know of Sprint small cells that are up and standing in Baltimore and Atlanta as well, so the number of active sites may be higher. Mobilitie represented that they have somewhere between 1,000-2,000 permits, but anecdotally we aren’t seeing signs of that much actual construction.

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