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Sprint Senior Vice President of Networks Bob Azzi.  (Source:
Sprint in the midst of network modernization project

According to Fierce Wireless, Sprint will be closely monitoring the adoption rate of its high-speed WiMAX service, evaluating the best use of its spectrum, before deciding whether or not to focus on LTE in the future. 

Sprint is currently working in partnership with Alcatel-Lucent, Samsung, and Ericsson on a $4 to $5 billion network modernization plan called Network Vision, to be undertaken over the next three to five years.  

At Network Vision's core is a plan to deploy a multi-use base station for greater technology flexibility. "The new multi-mode base stations will be smaller allowing the entire footprint of the cell site to be reduced," Fierce Wireless reports, "which means that less power will be required at the cell site." 

The upgrade is largely a cost-saving measure. In addition to the base station, Sprint also plans on deploying CDMA 1x Advanced, which Sprint Senior Vice President of Networks Bob Azzi said will reduce per-minute costs and provide an estimated 20 to 40 percent improvement in capacity and performance. Backhaul will be upgraded from T1s to a combination of microwave and Ethernet fiber. 

Meanwhile, Verizon announced yesterday that it would launch its 4G LTE network across the wider Detroit market tomorrow, covering some 80 percent of the metropolitan area. 

The expansion to nearly 70 suburban municipalities is the first since Verizon launched its LTE service back in December. Though a few areas in and around Detroit were covered then, most of the area experienced spectrum interference with a Canadian TV station. This issue has been resolved, thus allowing the significant early expansion.

"Metro Detroit: Welcome to the future," John Granby, president of the Michigan/Indiana/Kentucky Region for Verizon Wireless, said in a press release. Little did he know, Detroit was already making strides into the future, with a thus far wildly successful fundraising campaign to erect a statue of RoboCop.

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RE: IF Sprint moves to LTE...
By mcnabney on 2/16/2011 10:25:35 AM , Rating: 0
Yes, WiMax is inferior.

It uses more power.
Has more latency.
Has lesser theoretical and practical upload/download speeds.
Is less efficient with spectrum.

In addition to that, the industry support is massively in favor of LTE (because of the above reasons). WiMax supporters continue to use the fixed-wireless efforts to show support for mobile-wireless, but the truth is that WiMax is really only being considered for non-mobile consumer wireless to the Home.

To make matters worse, while Sprint fiddles about trying to undo the mistake of investing big in the losing 4G technology, Verizon is already moving to shift voice traffic to LTE. You will be hearing more and more about VoLTE (which is essentially a tweaked VoIP). Can you believe it, the end of 'minutes' is coming?

RE: IF Sprint moves to LTE...
By DanNeely on 2/16/2011 11:19:53 AM , Rating: 5
Can you believe it, the end of 'minutes' is coming?

No I can't. Just because they're sending voice over LTE to save power doesn't mean they can't charge a premium for it over other forms of data.

RE: IF Sprint moves to LTE...
By mcnabney on 2/17/2011 9:11:36 AM , Rating: 2
I think they will end up using a per/GB model.

Just like any other utility. Get a family share with 20GB and use it however you want - talking, picture messaging, watching movies, browsing the web, or online games. So $5-10 per device and per GB after that. Seems fair.

RE: IF Sprint moves to LTE...
By DanNeely on 2/17/2011 10:55:17 AM , Rating: 2
That's what I'd like to see, but I find it highly unlikely that they'd be willing to give up the cash cow that voice plans are becoming. Especially if you look at unlimited voice on large family plans (ie 4 or 5 phones). I don't see that cash cow being killed short of being forced to by Congress or the FCC; and unfortunately the Republican controlled house appears to be in the wireless companies pocket.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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