Sprint Revises LTE Plans, Smartphones Delayed Until After Mid-2012

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Sprint recently announced revised plans to launch its first 4G LTE handsets in the second half of 2012, rather than the company’s original goal to have a dozen LTE-enabled phones by June of next year.  This is a significant slow-down in the carrier’s switch from WiMAX to LTE.

SprintThe news was revealed by Sprint CFO Joseph Euteneuer, who also said Sprint’s LTE network will be “very competitive to what’s out in the marketplace” in regards to LTE network speeds. The carrier originally intended to deploy an LTE network equipped with a slew of phones by June 2012, however, according to Euteneuer, Sprint only plans to launch its high-speed service by mid-2012.

Starting in 2010, Sprint was the first U.S. carrier to provide 4G service. It does so using the WiMAX standard, while all of its rivals picked LTE, which has proved to be the faster option. That’s why the carrier is moving to the more popular option.   

Details of the 4G Switch
Sprint will first launch FDD-LTE on its 1900MHz spectrum next year, as part of its Network Vision network modernization project, which will be followed by the deployment of LTE service on its 800MHz spectrum, as the carrier moves iDEN customers to its CDMA push-to-talk service. Sprint recently launched its first multi-mode base station in relation to its Network Vision project, according to Euteneuer, which is being constructed by Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung. 

The CFO also discussed the recently signed agreements between Sprint and Clearwire on WiMAX and TDD-LTE. The carrier will pay Clearwire up to $350 million in a series of prepayments over a period of up to two years for LTE capacity, as long as Clearwire achieves certain buildout targets and network specifications by June 2013, according to Euteneuer. 

Source: FierceWireless

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