Sprint Enters Agreement to Deploy LTE Services, WiMAX Left in Limbo
July 28, 2011 4:32 PM
comment(s) - last by
Sprint will be deploying an LTE 4G network for the first time.
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Sprint has traditionally backed WiMAX, a rival 4G technology. The new deal puts the future of the company's WiMAX network in limbo.
Third party communications firm will provide Sprint with its LTE services
Sprint Nextel Corp. (
) was the first major U.S. carrier to try to deploy a 4G spec. network. Sprint's WiMAX network
launched in September. 2008
and has slowly picked up steam
adding more cities
. Sprint has indicated, though, that it may
consider switching to LTE
-- the 4G standard that Verizon Wireless (
and AT&T Inc.'s (
) promises to soon support.
Now it appears Sprint is preparing to take the plunge, entering into a $13.5B USD contract with LightSquared to deploy an LTE network. LightSquared licenses and owns large chunks of the so-called "L-Band" (1-2 GHz) spectrum, and thus has room to grow its LTE offerings.
The network will open in some markets next year, and will be available to over "260 million Americans" by 2014.
Under the agreement LightSquared will give Sprint $9B USD in cash for the infrastructure deployment, as well as "purchase credits" for LTE and satellite service valued at $4.5B USD.
Under the convoluted deal, which ties the two companies closely together, Sprint may be able to purchase extra LTE services from LightSquared, using the network it was paid to deploy. Other carriers may also purchase LightSquared services (perhaps AT&T or Verizon).
LightSquared, who sells service to a number of small operators, such as Cellular South, also entered into a contract for 3G nationwide roaming on Sprint's network. This part of the deal should mean extra money for Sprint, and could prove a boon to local network subscribers traveling around the country.
Overall the deal seems like a smart one all around. Cash-strapped Sprint gets a big payday and the chance to sell LTE phones like the HTC Thunderbolt by HTC Corp. (
) for the first time. And LightSquared gains valuable infrastructure to license to players big and small.
The biggest seeming potential downside is the quandary the deal leaves Sprint's WiMAX network. Now that Sprint is officially going to be adopting LTE, customers may be hesitant to purchase WiMAX handsets like the
HTC EVO 3D
by Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) -- particularly when Sprint charges $10 USD extra per month for WiMAX data plans on those phones. A big question going ahead is whether Sprint will continue to expand its WiMAX network, or focus its efforts solely on LTE, going forward.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: What's wrong with WiMAX?
7/28/2011 10:49:31 PM
Sprint only picked up WiMAX because LTE did not exist four years ago. Sprint, losing out to Verizon and AT&T, jumped on WiMAX to get a competitive advantage as the first "4G" carrier in the US. Unfortunately, it backfired because the other carriers decided to wait for LTE. As a result, manufacturers like Cisco, Nokia and Samsung phased out or never built WiMAX equipment in favor of the upcoming LTE standard. If you can't buy it you can't deploy it, hence WiMAX is slowly dying. Yota, the largest WiMAX operator in the world, is also switching to LTE for this reason.
What vision33r said is incorrect; LTE is
4G, it is 3G.
is 4G, and it is not available yet since it was just ratified in June. WiMAX is not 4G, either, but it will be when 802.16m is built into the next WiMAX specification.
WiMAX and LTE have similar theoretical speeds: both aim for 1Gbit/sec to fixed locations and 100Mbit/sec to mobile users, although WiMAX has slightly more bandwidth in practice (~10-20%). Range is tricky, as WiMAX limits itself to 50km, while LTE can go up to 100km. WiMAX aims to guarantee performance at the cost of range, while LTE provides range at the cost of performance. In practice, both operate best under 5km. WiMAX is also more energy efficient, and less prone to interference and performance degradation over greater distances.
RE: What's wrong with WiMAX?
7/29/2011 2:27:33 AM
But at the band that WiMax is in there will be penetration issues compared to LTE in the 700MHz range.
RE: What's wrong with WiMAX?
7/29/2011 10:29:19 PM
This isn't quite right. Sprint had some use it or lose it frequency space and had to go with WiMax as LTE wouldn't have been ready to deploy soon enough.
LTE and WiMax are more accurately described as Pre-4G. HSDPA+ may not by 4G even under the new lax definition as it is not a forerunner to IMT-Advanced (which is true 4G).
EDGE actually meets the 3G definition (IMT-2000) but it wasn't until AT&T decided to brand HSPA as "3G" that anyone cared about "G"s. And now they're branding HSPA as 4G :roll:
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
Reviewed: HTC EVO 3D Smartphone, EVO View 4G Tablet
June 17, 2011, 7:46 AM
HTC's ThunderBolt Smartphone Ready to Light Up Verizon's LTE Network
March 15, 2011, 1:31 PM
Sprint Considers LTE, Verizon LTE Hits Detroit
February 16, 2011, 8:15 AM
Samsung Epic 4G, the Fastest Android Smartphone, Hits Sprint
August 12, 2010, 9:36 AM
Sprint WiMAX Available in Five New Markets
November 3, 2009, 9:53 AM
AT&T Will Also Receive the HTC One (M8) for Windows
August 19, 2014, 9:27 PM
Sharp's "Edge-to-Edge" AQUOS Crystal Smartphone Coming to Sprint for $239 Off-Contract
August 19, 2014, 7:31 PM
After 34 Years With Microsoft, Steve Ballmer Parts Way to Focus on LA Clippers
August 19, 2014, 4:17 PM
HTC One (M8) for Windows Officially Announced for Verizon Wireless
August 19, 2014, 12:15 PM
Quick Note: ASUS Readies Smartwatch for IFA 2014, Shows Teaser Image
August 19, 2014, 9:30 AM
LG Already Gearing Up for G Watch Sequel Next Month
August 19, 2014, 7:54 AM
Most Popular Articles
Lumia 830 Gets Major Upgrades Including New 20.1 Megapixel Toshiba Sensor
August 15, 2014, 6:00 PM
With USB Type-C Spec Finalized, Reversible Cables Will Soon Be Upon Us
August 13, 2014, 8:46 AM
Windows Phone, BlackBerry Smartphone Market Share Falls to 2.5%, 0.5% Respectively
August 15, 2014, 9:44 AM
Update: Samsung Gets Official With 4.7”, Aluminum-frame Galaxy Alpha Smartphone
August 14, 2014, 8:56 AM
GM Concedes That the Cadillac ELR Doesn’t Really Compete with the Tesla Model S
August 15, 2014, 5:42 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information