Sprint hopes thousands of new cell sites will revive its fortunes

Sprint chief Marcelo Claure may have done a lot to clean house and keep his customers from leaving, but it's clear that there's still a lot of work left to go before people stop abandoning ship. The carrier has reported first fiscal quarter earnings that saw it add a net total of 675,000 customers, but lost 12,000 postpaid (that is, regular subscription) customers. While that's low for a provider that has suffered some dire losses as of late, it pales in comparison to the unbridled successes of T-Mobile. At least things are getting better -- Sprint says that it saw its first net postpaid additions in roughly two years during this quarter.

While those are positive signs, the company isn't simply counting on its existing efforts to turn things around. It knows that its frequently slow network is a big reason why people are leaving, and the next phase of its service upgrade is a "significant densification" of its network that will include not just more regular cell sites, but "tens of thousands" of small cells that should fill in gaps. Hopefully, this means that you'll spend less time struggling with oversaturated networks and spotty reception. It's hard to say if this will work, but Sprint is being candid about its trouble. Chairman (and SoftBank CEO) Masayoshi Son says that American networks as a whole are "very bad" -- he thinks Sprint can improve this reputation without spending a ton of money.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel]