Network Vision should fix the strain on Sprints network, granted its going to take some time.
It will. But there are a number of issues with NV.
First, Sprint never should have had to undergo this. With the exception of a few towers the reason it's taking so long is because Sprint has to run the backhaul (fiber optic cables) to the site. If the backhaul had been done over time as it should have been this would have been much faster.
Secondly, Sprints contractors signed their respective contracts in December of 2010. Sprint did not actually start turning on LTE sites until early to mid 2012. That's a full year and a half. Lots of that was the permitting process, but it was also because the vendors couldn't get their stuff together and get parts.
Some vendors also operate differently. Phoenix, the market I am in is covered by Alcatel-Lucent. They do their 3G upgrades first and only when 3G is accepted by Sprint will they come back and do LTE upgrades. So, PHX is being upgraded, but only with 3G right now. Additionally, the vendors STILL have issues as Sprint recently wrote about in their SEC filing.
Next, Sprint has adopted a whatever tower they can get to first approach. This means that the one or two towers that exist in Podunk, USA get done first before the several hundreds in major metro areas like LA, NYC, Chicago, or San Fran. That makes Sprint look like it's only updating towers in remote locations. At the same time Sprint claims a market because it turned on the single upgraded LTE tower in Podunk. It's a BS way to do the upgrade and should have been thought through and implemented much better but it wasn't and now you have ticked off customers.
Lastly, and this is a personal observation, all three vendors Sprint contracts with (Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung) are major vendors and do the same work for the other telcos. Both AT&T and Verizon never seem to have any problems getting these vendors to do their work quickly. Yet Sprint gets nothing but delays from these guys. Right now, NV is six months to one year behind. In the first quarter of this year Dan Hesse personally lost over $200,000 in stock because these vendors are behind. He lost money stock in 2012 as well because of this.
To give you an idea, six months ago the completion date for Phoenix was January of 2014. Now it's July of 2014. I expect it to slip further.