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Sprint CEO Announces LTE Roaming Agreement With C Spire

Thu, 04/18/2013 - 10:20am
Ben Munson

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, speaking at the Competitive Carrier Association’s Global Expo in New Orleans, opined on the virtues of a competitive mobile market.

“We’re all going up against Goliaths,” he said, speaking about the uphill battle Sprint and other carriers, many also members of CCA, face in catching up with Verizon and AT&T. 

Fully 75 percent of the most valuable and useful low-band spectrum is controlled by Verizon and AT&T, said Hesse, while stressing the importance of the upcoming 600 MHz spectrum auctions.

He noted that Sprint and CCA are aligned in terms of thinking about spectrum, particularly in revising the deployment of the FCC’s spectrum screen. Hesse further advocated spectrum weighting based on propagation characteristics and ease of deployment.

While commending the FCC on suspending the ability of special access market providers to raise costs without notice, he reminisced about the counterintuitive way carriers used to penalize mobile customers for actually being mobile by hitting them with exorbitant roaming charges.

With that in mind, Hesse announced Sprint’s new LTE roaming agreement with C Spire. He also announced 21 new Sprint LTE markets, including Los Angeles and Charlotte, raising his company’s total to more than 88 LTE markets.

“There’s never been a device more personal than today’s smartphone,” Hesse said. That strong attachment to wireless devices seems to contrast the all-time low public perception of U.S. wireless carriers that Hesse also mentioned.

Citing the customer experience awards Sprint had earned from J.D. Power & Associates, Hesse touted the way the Davids of the U.S. wireless market are disrupting the industry for the benefit of the consumer.

Earning a number of laughs from the audience, Hesse seemed calm and collected despite the turmoil over at Sprint stemming from Dish’s disruptive merger offer from earlier this week. Sprint had previously been on track to acquire the rest of data wholesaler Clearwire while finalizing a deal to sell a 70-percent stake in Sprint for around $20 billion to Japanese carrier Softbank. But Dish’s unsolicited offer of $25.5 billion to merge with Sprint now had shareholders leaning toward a merger with the satellite TV provider.

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