To Maintain Network, Sprint Turns to Partners and Roaming Agreements

In a cost-cutting move, Sprint, the nation’s third largest carrier, will, instead of deploying its own network and utilize its spectrum, be turning to other carriers through roaming agreements. By instituting roaming agreements, Sprint’s customers in Oklahoma and Kansas would still be able to have access to voice and mobile broadband data services in those areas. The benefit is that Sprint won’t have to maintain or build infrastructure to support its own network and will instead by relying on others’ networks to provide service to customers.

Sprint’s new proposed business arrangement is made possible since the FCC has essentially revoked the Home Market Rule. Under the old Home Market Rule, carriers must build infrastructure in areas where they own spectrum rather than rely on roaming agreements.

The move is finding an opposition in AT&T. Sprint and AT&T have been at each other before, with the former more recently leading a charge against the latter’s attempted merger with T-Mobile USA, which has since been cancelled due to strong opposition. AT&T is challenging Sprint’s move in court.

The Now Network had released the following statement about AT&T’s challenge:

“It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that AT&T wants to challenge a consumer’s right to access email, the Internet and other mobile broadband services wherever they may travel in the U.S. Along with Verizon Wireless, AT&T is the only other wireless carrier in America which opposes the FCC’s pro-consumer data roaming decision from last year.

The facts are that Sprint, as part of its Network Vision program, doubled its 2011 capital investment over 2010 to make tens of thousands of capacity upgrades, resulting in a better wireless experience for its customers. With these network investments, Sprint continues to offer consumers a better value than AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.”

Sprint has also been actively pursuing LTE deployment as part of its Network Vision strategy. The carrier had announced and previewed 3 new 4G LTE devices at CES 2012 and hopes to launch LTE in more markets throughout the year. The move to LTE is part of Sprint’s migration away from rival 4G WiMax technology as it tries to provide customers with faster mobile broadband speeds in a bid to remain competitive with rivals AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Via: The Verge