Sprint Could Light Up a 4G LTE Network by 2012

While Sprint is still determining its wireless strategy–the Now Network is partnering with Clearwire to use WiMax as its 4G platform–Sprint’s president of network operations and wholesale Steve Elfman says that the company could deploy a 4G network based on the competing LTE standard by 2012 and expand that to national coverage by 2013.

The carrier will not decide until mid-year what its network strategy will be. Sprint claims to be the first 4G carrier in the U.S. and had launched the Sprint HTC EVO 4G as the first 4G smartphone at the CTIA wireless trade show almost a year ago. Verizon Wireless had launched its LTE network late last year and at the beginning of this year at CES announced 4 Android smartphones for its 4G LTE network.

Sprint currently operates a 3G CDMA/EV-DO network along with an iDEN network, which the company is phasing out. It is partnering with Clearwire to deliver 4G on WiMax, which promises mobile broadband data download speeds of between 3-6 Mbps.

Sprint’s decision to go with LTE or remain with WiMax through Clearwire remains dependent on its negotiations with Clearwire. According to the carrier’s CEO, “Our Plan A is together with Clearwire, but we do have a Plan B.” The dispute between Sprint and Clearwire is over wholesale revenue sharing, and if that dispute is not resolved, Sprint could adopt LTE.

In the past, the carrier has said that LTE and WiMax were similar enough that it would be relatively easy for Sprint to switch to the rival technology if needed. The carrier had also indicated that it was exploring options with LTE in the past.

Rival carriers AT&T and Verizon Wireless will or are adopting LTE as its 4G next-generation network, which promises 10 times the speeds of 3G connections, according to Verizon. T-Mobile, the nations fourth largest carrier, is promoting its evolved 3G HSPA+ network as 4G because that protocol can currently deliver speeds that rival speeds of WiMax and LTE networks today. It’s unclear what standards T-Mobile USA will be adopting after HSPA+.

Via: Fierce Wireless

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Comments

  1. Bstedh says

    Sprint will never leave Clearwire because the spectrum position of Clearwire wether they switch to LTE or maintain Wimax will far out preform any other carrier nation wide once customers start loading the networks. The other cariers just don’t have enough spectrum to handle a high volume. They look good now but as we have seen with the Iphone their network just can’t handle the load that will be expected of them.

  2. Bstedh says

    The following is from AvianSecurites LLC

    Clearwire’s spectrum is in the 2.5 GHz band called EBS/BRS (Educational Broadband Service/Broadband Radio Service). This band spans roughly 200 MHz between 2496 and 2690 MHz. Licenses are awarded based on fixed geographies (in these case BTAs) and 35 mile GSA or geographic service areas. Within these bands, Clearwire holds an average of approximately 140 MHz across its spectrum footprint and 160 MHz in the top 100 markets. For comparison, our government sold 52 MHz in the 700 MHz band for $19.2B primarily to AT&T, Verizon, Qualcomm, and Dish Networks. There is no doubt that 700 MHz carries further and penetrates buildings better than 2.5 GHz. However, with ever-smaller cell sizes to service high-density areas, we believe 2.5 GHz will prove a more than viable frequency for 4G.
    This spectral advantage is a STRATEGIC advantage for Clearwire. It typically opens a market with 30 MHz of capacity. By comparison, Verizon’s holds 22 MHz nationwide plus an additional 12 MHz in selected markets of 700 MHz spectrum. When Verizon opens a market, it typically uses two 5 MHz channels for a total of 10 MHz or 1/3 of Clearwire’s capacity. AT&T has even less spectrum than Verizon. Note that Clearwire has more spectrum than any of the big 4.

  3. tommy says

    I do believe that Sprint will move to a 4G network, but wouldn’t it be easier just to upgrade Clearwire’s network to 4G. They have already poured 10B into the network and the transition will be a lot easier than building from the 3G network. The devices being sold are already capable of using Wimax and LTE. A lot of talk about LTE, and the assumption is that Sprint will do it on its own, but whats more likely? Clearwire is already Beta testing their LTE and have recieved rediculous speeds in results. Along with their spectrum holdings, it looks as if once this relationship is mended, Clearwire will start moving to LTE for Sprint.

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