Sprint expects to shutter at least 6,000 cell sites as it makes plans to shut down WiMAX service by the end of 2015. Sprint has long said it would maintain WiMAX service through 2015, but has not given many details on what exactly it will do with the network after that date.
According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, when Sprint bought Clearwire last summer the company had deployed WiMAX on around 17,000 cell sites and was in the process of deploying TD-LTE technology on around 5,000 of these sites--work that is now complete. Sprint plan to expand its TD-LTE deployment to around 5,000 more legacy Clearwire sites as part of its Sprint Spark tri-band LTE service. Sprint plans to expand Spark to 100 million POPs by the end of this year and roughly 100 markets by 2016.
The SEC filing notes that Sprint plans to "cease using WiMAX technology by the end of 2015." As part of that effort, Sprint said it identified approximately 6,000 "redundant sites that we expect to decommission and terminate the underlying leases." Sprint said the tower shutdowns will cost roughly $50 million to $100 million, but that "the timing of lease exit charges will be dependent upon the date we cease utilizing these sites without future economic benefit." Read the full article