Only a week after Free Mobile announced it had added LTE to its €19.99 ($27.60) mobile plan for no extra charge, the Iliad-owned operator is now including the high-speed service in its €2-a-month plan, while Bouygues Telecom said it is extending LTE to its entire portfolio at no extra charge.
Sprint is going to have to start executing faster and better if it wants to make Spark stand out next year. I'm sure SoftBank and Son will be pushing Sprint to do so. That may be the clearest measure of SoftBank's influence on Sprint.
Israeli operator Cellcom said it plans to share the construction and operation of an LTE network under a 15-year agreement with rivals Pelephone and Golan Telecom in order to meet the growing demand for mobile data services while keeping costs down.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse acknowledged that the carrier is still working through its Network Vision network upgrade, and that as it replaces equipment to improve its network, customers will see degradations in service and Sprint will see higher churn as a result. However, he said that Sprint's tri-mode LTE service, dubbed "Sprint Spark," which is just getting underway, will provide the kind of speed differentiation that will set Sprint apart.
Sprint indicated that its Sprint Spark tri-mode LTE service is up and running Chicago, and the carrier touted the network improvements it has made in the market, in what could be a prelude to a wider marketing campaign about its network.
T-Mobile US has deployed a 20x20 MHz LTE network in Dallas, which should give the carrier additional capacity in that market as it prepares for a wider rollout of 20x20 MHz LTE service.
Verizon Wireless is planning to augment its LTE network in 50 different cities with AWS spectrum in the first half of 2014 to avoid potential capacity issues. That process includes seeding the customer base with AWS-capable devices, as well as deploying inbuilidng coverage and Distributed Antenna Systems, according to Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam.
Sprint has a stable financial outlook, but its financial profile will remain weak through at least 2014 as industry trends and competitive pressure conspire to keep the company from fully exploiting its network investments and spectrum holdings, according to Fitch Ratings.
Verizon Wireless has been deploying its AWS spectrum in dozens of major markets across the country in an effort to boost capacity for its LTE network and in some markets it is tripling the amount of spectrum dedicated to LTE service.
The last thing Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and even Iliad need is to kill the golden goose of LTE. No one in the industry will thank Iliad if LTE suffers due to its rather audacious approach.