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  (Source: thecellphonejunkie.com)
Company hopes to cover 120 million people with LTE by end of next year, 250 million by 2013

Yesterday in an interview with UBS, Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer announced the company's plans to launch LTE phones in the second half of 2012. Sprint's first multimodal base station, which supports both CDMA and LTE, is currently being deployed.

According to Euteneuer, the plan is to build out Sprint's LTE infrastructure across the U.S. first, and then introduce handsets that can take advantage of it.

Euteneuer pointed to Q3 of next year as a likely timeframe for Sprint's first LTE handsets, which he says "will be very competitive to what's already out on the marketplace." 

Back in July, Sprint reportedly entered into a $13.3B contract with the company LightSquared for its LTE build-out. The new 4G network will operate on 800MHz, 1600MHz, and 1900MHz spectrums.

Euteneuer's recent statements reflect a recognition by Sprint that WiMAX is only a temporary "4G" solution, whereas LTE is long-term.

"We're talking about covering 120 million [people] by the end of 2012," Euteneuer said. "We've accelerated this because we believe LTE is really key to our future."

As previously reported, Sprint will continue to sell WiMAX devices through the end of 2012. But Euteneuer stressed that the WiMAX network will continue to be supported all the way through 2015.

Sprint will also be paying Clearwire $350 million over two years "if they meet targets in delivering LTE to sites where traffic is heaviest."

Sources: Engadget, UBS





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