As I wrote back in October, Sprint currently has major network issues, but the company has been planning to address the woes with the Network Vision rollout in 2012 and 2013.

Network Vision is a project to improve existing cell towers and roll out LTE across the U.S., and it's already underway in the existing CDMA 1900MHz range. 1900MHz is nice, but just wait till you see what the 2nd stage of NV (Network Vision) has in store when it starts rolling out in the 800MHz range in place of the current iDEN network.

These Sprint webinar slides surfaced last month, but only now made it to our inbox and prompted me to order a support brace for my jaw. You are going to want to sit down for this one, especially if you're an existing Sprint customer. Now remember, these are just slides of projections, but it's what Sprint thinks will happen, using Atlanta as the sample market.

Here is what Network Vision to the 1900MHz towers is projected to do to signal strength:

image => image

Signal strength (green - great, yellow - good, red - mediocre, blue - bad, white - coverage gaps)

As you can see, NV should bring noticeable, yet marginal, improvements to coverage.

Here is what should happen with the rollout of the 800MHz Network Vision:

image => image

Signal strength (green - great, yellow - good, red - mediocre, blue - bad, white - coverage gaps)

You won't need your glasses to see the difference here. Lower frequency means longer wavelength, which in turns means better signal propagation and building penetration. Sprint seems to think it really will be this significant.

I'd like to note that the information in the slides shows strength of reception and does not address data speed and latency issues directly, but they are most definitely related. More importantly, increased coverage area means 3G and LTE will be able to reach a much larger chunk of the population.

LTE for speed, 800MHz for range - that's a winning recipe, in theory. Sprint's plans currently include starting the repurposing process of the 800MHz range in 2013, although how many markets they will upgrade in the first year and how fast they continue to move remains to be seen. LTE-Advanced upgrades should also begin that year, so if everything goes as planned, 2013 will be the year to get on Sprint.

Thanks, Tony