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Sprint renegotiates another tower deal, prepping for Network Vision


Sprint is putting all of its tower leasing agreements in order as it prepares for its massive Network Vision overhaul, which will see all of its old CDMA gear replaced with new software-defined radio (SDR) capable of hosting any network technology. Last month, Sprint signed a new agreement with Crown Castle, allowing it to renegotiate more than 10,000 tower leases in bulk (CP: Sprint streamlines Network Vision rollout with Crown Castle deal). Today, Sprint revealed a similar deal was in place with Mobilitie, though on a much smaller scale.

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Mobilitie manages towers, distributed antenna systems and fiber backhaul networks for mobile operators. Sprint doesn’t rely heavily on Mobilitie’s towers—only a few hundred cell sites—but Mobiltitie may have the opportunity to build on its relationship as Network Vision progresses.

Sprint will be installing brand new Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Samsung base stations, replacing Nortel, Motorola and Lucent gear (CP: Sprint lays out vague path to LTE with $5B network modernization). It will also sun-set Nextel’s iDEN network. That means it will need to operate old and new networks simultaneously for a period, requiring it to double up on site gear and antennas. Sprint will also be able to reconfigure its network topology, adjusting its site footprint for the new needs of a data-driven network and the new frequencies it will support as it hosts LightSquared and other operators’ networks.

Sprint uses towers from 10 providers so it still has several more contracts to sign before it can streamline its Vision deployment across its entire nationwide footprint.


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