Since the Softbank deal closed a few weeks ago, Sprint has been busy announcing new wireline news, and this week’s installment is a new big bandwidth Ethernet Wave service. It’s part of their Network Vision buildout, for which wireless gets more of the press but wireline will be doing much of the heavy lifting when it comes to actually transporting the data. The new Carrier Ethernet services are built off of Ciena’s coherent technology and WaveLogic 3 optical processors.
Earlier this month, Sprint also discussed two trials of the generation of bandwidth yet to come, also with Ciena’s help. During the first half, they tested a 100Gbps circuit that spanned 2,100km between Chicago and Fort Worth without signal regeneration. And more recently (i.e. last month) they completed a live 400Gbps link out in Silicon Valley.
I’ve speculated in the past that a Softbank controlled Sprint might decide to make a move with the wireline business, and I still think it’s possible. But the fact that they’ve invested in 100G upgrades during the soap opera of the prior twelve months suggests they have felt no urgency yet. While much of the underlying fiber is older and revenues have been steadily eroding for years now, it’s still a significant backbone and with 100Gbps upgrades won’t be going away anytime soon. Perhaps Sprint will just steadily re-purpose the division as a support facility for their wireless needs rather than do anything drastic.
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