Sprint and Cox Communications are moving to deepen their ties, signing a new multi-year business agreement while also settling some patent litigation. The deal will see Sprint gain greater access to Cox's broadband infrastructure, adding density to the company's backhaul networks.
In other words, Cox's network will help them bring fiber to more towers, from the macro sites down to the small cells. That densification and similar initiatives will surely help them deal with the demands of the inevitable 5G wave.
After the long-discussed Sprint/T-Mobile deal fell apart again in October, I think that deeper ties with the cable sector became inevitable for both parties. Although, perhaps that event only changed the timing around a bit given the growing importance of backhaul infrastructure to the mobile business.