By Stephen Bye, Chief Technology Officer, Sprint
The appetite for mobile data continues to grow, with Cisco predicting there will be 11.5 billion mobile-connected devices by 2019, including M2M modules. Today our devices connect all aspects of our daily lives. And our wireless networks are foundational as the enablers of entertainment, communication and collaboration across our smart cities, our methods of transport, our workplaces and our homes.
With WiFi being the world’s largest wireless ecosystem, we view it as a complementary fourth layer of our network (the first three layers being our 1.9GHz, 2.5GHz, and 800MHz spectrum bands). By enabling customers to move more smoothly between trusted WiFi and cellular, our customers will have a better mobile experience in more locations, all while lowering their cost of data usage.
WiFi is already a key solution for wireless access within the home and many businesses, and is widely deployed in public venues. For example in airports, today we announced a new collaboration with Boingo to enable WiFi roaming and provide Sprint customers with a free, seamless and secure connection on capable devices in 35 major airports across the country.
In addition, we have a number of other WiFi touchpoints designed to bring a great network experience to our customers @home, @work, and @play, including the following:
WiFi Calling is a free standard feature1 recently announced for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, and also available on most of our Android smartphones. It enables customers to use voice and messaging services anywhere they have WiFi connectivity. Because traditional wireless technology can have some limitations in places like basements or high-rise buildings, WiFi expands connectivity. Customers traveling internationally with WiFi access can also use WiFi Calling to enjoy free calls from over 200 countries back to the U.S.2 WiFi Calling is available at no additional charge when calling to a U.S., U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico phone number.
We recently unveiled Workplace-as-a-Service at Enterprise Connect where it won Best of Show. Workplace-as-a-Service packages everything a small or midsized business needs from audio and video conferencing to voice/text/data plans, cloud productivity apps, managed WiFi and more.
Today Sprint launched WiFi Connect, a consumer WiFi router that prioritizes Sprint specific WiFi Calling over all other WiFi traffic and includes Smart Connect technology that dynamically manages 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi bands for optimal WiFi data performance, delivering a great Sprint customer experience in homes or small offices. The solution is available free of charge to qualified customers.
Outdoor Small Cells
Small cells enable us to strategically add capacity in targeted high-traffic areas and extend coverage to hard-to-reach locations. The current product we are working with for outdoor street level coverage includes WiFi and should be commercially deployed in the near future.
The network at Sprint is our #1 priority and every day we continue to improve our customers’ experience. We’re excited about the transparent and seamless integration of WiFi, as well as the development of LTE for use in unlicensed spectrum, which we view as a natural complement to our cellular services. You’ll see us continue to invest in both of these technologies as we work to further unlock the true potential of our network and provide customers with an even better experience connecting @home, @work, and @play.
Press Release: April 30, 2015 – Sprint and Boingo Bring Seamless Wi-Fi to Millions of Sprint Travelers
Press Release: April 8, 2015 – Sprint Delivers Expanded Connectivity with Free Wi-Fi Calling to Millions of iPhone Customers
1 Requires iOS 8.3 and update to carrier settings. Carrier settings will update for customers over the course of a few days. Base service plan charges apply.
2Wi-Fi Calling supports calling from 200+ countries / territories. Wi-Fi Calling is not supported in select countries including: Australia, China, Cuba, North Korea, India, Iran, Singapore, Sudan and Syria. Sprint Subscribers are not authorized to use the service in countries where Wi-Fi Calling is prohibited by law. Please update your device software to the latest version to get the most current version of the Wi-Fi Calling software.