Sprint will use Altice footprint to deploy thousands of Magic Box small cells

The line between telcos and cable companies has been blurring for some time as telcos look to leverage existing network infrastructure and cable companies look to enter the wireless market. This morning Sprint provided insight into how it will work with Altice USA to leverage the cable provider’s fiber optic network to densify its own network with the deployment of thousands of the all-wireless Magic Box small cells.

Sprint CFO Tarek Robbiati said the network densification aspect of the deal “is key to the 5G future” and called the transaction “really important considering where the industry stands today in terms of its densification attempts.”


He said Sprint will use Altice USA’s service footprint, which covers 4.9 million consumer and enterprise subscribers in 21 states, to deploy “thousands of small cells. The infrastructure swap is what makes this deal the first of its kind. It’s really important that we invest in our network but also that that investment is really geared toward densifying our footprint.”

Robbiati, in response to a question, said the Altice deal was not predicated on the ending of merger talks with T-Mobile US. “This transaction would have taken place anyway. We feel this is the right thing to do to be able to densify our networks. It’s a critical part of our strategy. We started…with trials with Altice six months ago.”

To the MVNO piece, Altice USA will have access to Sprint’s spectrum portfolio for the delivery of voice and data services. “Sprint is an ideal strategic partner for Altice USA given our shared vision around converged customer experiences,” said Altice USA Chairman & CEO Dexter Goei. “Altice is a convergent leader with more than 26 million mobile customers in countries including France, Portugal, Israel, and the Dominican Republic, and we are excited to bring our global expertise to the U.S. to enhance and strengthen our offerings. Working together we will be able to capitalize on Sprint’s vast mobile network, which fits well alongside Altice USA’s deep Wi-Fi network, and leverage Altice’s global mobile experience to deliver greater value, more benefits and seamless connectivity for our U.S. customers.”

Airspan Networks supplies Sprint with the all-wireless Magic Box small cells. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has previously noted that demand for the hardware has outstripped supply. Earlier this month, Airspan Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Damiano Coletti told RCR Wireless News the company is taking actions to scale production. The Magic Box is manufactured by Foxconn in China.



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