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5 ways Sprint can move on after leaving T-Mobile at the altar

This week Sprint abandoned its venture to buy T-Mobile USA after facing harsh resistance from regulators over the deal. While John Legere gloats over the failed deal on Twitter, Sprint has a new CEO and no plan on how to proceed. But this isn’t the end for Sprint; in fact the U.S. carrier could turn itself around and win back its customers.

For Sprint to get competitive and become a network more people want to use, it needs to focus on a few key issues — some of which come straight out of T-Mobile playbook. Sprint also has a serious edge that, if used correctly, could help it stay ahead as more and more people demand high speed smartphones.

Related: Say hello to Sprint’s new CEO, hired as T-Mobile merger falls apart

Learn from T-Mobile

Since John Legere took charge, T-Mobile has evolved into a game-changer for the wireless industry. While AT&T and Verizon remain unwavered in charging data caps,  From ending overage fees to free international data and texting, T-Mobile has been claiming its goals are not just about winning customers, but also changing the industry.

Since John Legere took charge, T-Mobile has evolved into a game-changer for the wireless industry.

Surprisingly, since T-Mobile’s push for unlimited data, Sprint has backtpedaled. Its biggest push has been its “Framily” plan, which is an attempt to offer cheaper service for groups of people but at a higher premium for unlimited data access. Worst of all, Sprint has brought back overage fees, something it railed against with its Simply Unlimited plan. In addition, Sprint’s network continues to struggle under heavy congestion.

Related: T-Mobile tops Sprint to become most popular prepaid phone carrier in U.S.

While Sprint throttles heavy users, John Legere sits on Twitter cracking jokes about his competitors; everyone loves him. Back in 2011, Sprint and T-Mobile were very much alike; two small carriers with a weakening market share. Now things have changed, and its up for Sprint to learn how to be a Uncarrier from T-Mobile. Sprint needs a serious makeover, and the Framily isn’t the right kind of makeover. If Sprint puts itself in the spotlight just like John Legere and focuses on delivering good service to its customers, it could win back market share.

Invest in your network

Let’s face it, Sprint’s network has lagged far behind the other three carriers. It was first to start implementing 4G way back in 2010, but it picked WiMax instead of the winning LTE standard, and now it’s remaking its 4G network and is last to roll it out nationwide. T-Mobile, which just started rolling out 4G LTE, has already surpassed Sprint in LTE coverage, according to OpenSignal.

A lot of this has to due with the sheer cost of upgrading a network. T-Mobile and Sprint both carry hefty debts as a result of their network upgrades, but T-Mobile’s $17 billion in debt is nearly half of the $33 billion Sprint owes. With so much debt on the table, it’s been difficult for Sprint and its owner Softbank to throw down the cash needed to upgrade every single cell tower to 4G LTE.

Despite this debt though, doubling down and investing in the network is the only way Sprint can prove itself to customers. Sprint is still part of Softbank, which was willing to shell out over $30 billion for T-Mobile. Some of that money better trickle down into network infrastructure. Until Sprint’s LTE network can rival that of the other three carriers, it will continue be the target of ridicule for having slow speeds and high congestion. Building out its network is also the only way Sprint can make use of its one advantage.

Next Page: Sprint’s potential silver bullet and its source of major congestion.