Rumor: Sprint Launching LTE Network Early 2012


CNET says they’ve heard it on great authority (the whole “people familiar with the situation” spiel) that Sprint will be launching an LTE network early 2012. This is likely what Sprint is gearing up to announce sometime this fall as they did confirm major network announcements would be coming soon.

It’s a logical step forward for Sprint after the failed WiMax deployment, but the next hurdle they must get over after launching this LTE network is deciding how to handle customers with WiMax devices. There are many customers with WiMax-enabled smartphones from Sprint who aren’t in 4G coverage areas.

With the launch of an LTE network, we’d assume Sprint would abandon WiMax for their future phones. This doesn’t mean those with WiMax phones who are in 4G coverage areas suddenly won’t have 4G anymore, but it could mean Sprint will cease production of future WiMax devices and in-turn will not partner with Clearwire to provide more coverage than they already have.

Sprint is reportedly passing on Clearwire (who has plans to build out an LTE network despite the lack of funds and a lackluster WiMax network) and won’t be working with any other partners, including Lightsquared. Lightsquared was seen as first in line for providing Sprint customers a 4G LTE network as Sprint heavily invested in them, but reports instead suggest Sprint will be going the Verizon route and building out their own solution.

Earlier, I questioned whether or not the cost on consumers would be affected, but CNET reports that Sprint already has the capital for a large scale deployment set aside in their budget. It’s been a messy situation and Sprint’s hoping to get a fresh start with LTE.

But that question still remains – how does Sprint get their WiMax customers (most of whom will likely be tied into contracts as the LTE rollout begins) over to the new network?

Also, how will Sprint make it up to 4G customers who were promised WiMax coverage but have yet to see any progress since Clearwire nearly went bankrupt? For consumers, these will be the first questions in mind as Sprint looks to usher in a 4G network that looks to be defacto for carriers worldwide. [CNET]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. If LTE is coming in early 2012 and iPhone5 will be launched with Sprint… does that mean iPhone5 will not have have 4G LTE network???

    1. i thought this was an Anrdoid blog.

      1. It is, and if what I am saying is correct, that is very good news for Android, won’t you agree!

      2. and android runs on phones and phones run on carriers signals, which means that they have a direct affect on android

    2. IPhone 5 won’t have LTE or 4g on any carrier I’m betting. Seeing as I don’t get 4g now, I’m not real worried about getting LTE anytime soon either. I’m keeping my rooted 3d running Eternity until they pry it from me. Or shut down service to it. I think they’ll support both Wimax/LTE for quite awhile.

    3. from what I’ve heard, all launch day iPhone 5’s will only be 3G.

  2. More fees to follow this announcement.

  3. “…and in-turn will not partner with Clearwire to provide more coverage than they already have.” Yeah…I’ve been watching how aggressive they were once expanding WiMax. Oh, wait, they never did.
    I think it’s a smart move for Sprint to move on to LTE, but I wonder if, given Sprint’s track record, modern LTE will be the equivalent of 2G by the time they get it out to even 80% of their customers. If ever at all.

    1. I highly doubt you even remember 2g speeds, boy. Everyone expects for things to get better and faster, but guess what? You have to peak at some time…

      1. Did you even read my post in its entirety? It is what we like to call “comparatively speaking”. I was comparing Sprint’s track record with WiMax, and the (lack of) expansion thereof and how modern LTE will SEEM like 2G – comparatively speaking, at that time, in the future ( if they put the same effort and resources into expansion as Sprint’s history has shown) that LTE speeds are currently averaging.
        Did I hit a sore spot? Were you in charge of rolling out WiMax, or the new LTE? If so, you should really be working to actually expand and improve the network rather than getting irritated at a comment that was more observational pondering than it was insulting. I’d love for Sprint to get a good, solid, building-penetrable LTE network and see them cover it even as half as aggressively as Verizon has been expanding theirs, but I just don’t see Sprint doing it and maintaining their status-quo with billing and unlimited, non-throttled data (although I’m grandfathered into unlimited VZW, and have never been throttled, even at 12GB/month; I’m all for saving money, but there is a reason I stay with Verizon, and believe me, it isn’t any mindless “carrier-fanboyism”. I simply get better service wherever I go, for ME and I am often in very obscure places that aren’t near airports or along major highways).
        For the record, I remember going from a 150 baud modem to a “blazing fast” 300 baud modem, and my son is probably older than you are, sport.
        I don’t know what made you so upset, but your reply was off-base and irrelevant.

  4. “failed WIMAX deployment” ? What comic book are you reading? The ONLY 4G for the last 3 years has been WIMAX.

    1. To bad it actually wasnt 4g!

      1. Strawman… NONE of today’s 4g networks are actually 4g if you want to play that game.

        1. My wifi is….

  5. You know, at this point after having Sprint for the last 15 or so months, all I care about is indoor signal. In some places it feels like I’m in an underground bunker with no chance of catching a signal.

  6. I wish Sprint would make their LTE compatible with Verizon so that they can expand their coverage with collaboration deals.

    1. I’ve read in other articles that Sprint LTE is the same as Verizon, FD-LTE. I’ve also read in other articles that Sprint devices will have a chip that supports FD-LTE and TD-LTE. TD-LTE is the version of LTE that WiMax can easily be converted to. I think the current WiMax devices can work on a TD-LTE network.

      1. I’ve read this as well, but we will still suffer from the indoor signal issues though since the frequency will be the same as WiMax. Not that any of this matters one iota to me though, we don’t have WiMax in southern Wisconsin and most likely will never have Sprint LTE. What we do have though is turrible 3G speeds…._eye roll_

        1. I feel your pain man. SE Wisconsin is the pits, we don’t have any type of 4G around here, not even hope right now. Hopefully when this rollout begins, Sprint will grace us with their 4G >.>

  7. My concern is the Nexus Prime on Sprint. If its Wimax only, it will have obsolete tech from day one, though I expect it will come out too soon to have LTE in it.

  8. ::sarcasm:: I’m so glad I just bought a brand new WiMax phone on 2-year contract…. ::sigh::

  9. So what does that mean for the Galaxy S2 I just bought a week ago? It is quite fast on the Wimax 4g but I am assuming Sprint will not disable wimax until all customers with Wimax phones have upgraded to LTE phones?

    1. Sprint/Clearwire probably would disable wimax long after you upgrade to your Galaxy S5.

  10. Nice….Have to pay for WiMax (P service) in an area that does not have it. Purchased a phone to work on WiMax for when it comes. Now it wont come to my area and now will have to purchase a phone for LTE if i want 4g. 3g is Really slow now…..Good Bye Sprint…So tired of this

    1. WiMax will come if Sprint has it’s way. See attached.

      Sprint plans to add 2500mhz LTE AND Wimax to every tower. So, you will see wimax in your area (if the plan isn’t aborted which, given what a mess Clearwire’s network is, it certainly could be).

      However just as it was when you bought your phone, it’s going to be available “soon” meaning 3-5 years unless it gets cancelled. Seriously, what is it with American companies and “soon”, either put out or get THE FUCK out!

  11. Great, another Sprint network they’ll never deploy in Albany, NY

  12. still the question remain, will sprint have a signal that will penetrate buildings?????

  13. I have a epic 4g phone that has never even been in 4g. I would do a LOL if it was not so sad.

  14. Sprint needs to beef up up their 3G network first! Instead they are wasting time installing WiMax in a few cities with no footprint and now LTE? come on Sprint!!

    1. Sprint’s Network Vision upgrade that just started includes 3G upgrades, as well.

  15. While this sounds great, what spectrum is Sprint using for LTE?

    I saw on another website that their using the Nextel 800mhz bands. First, I thought phones were still using that. And I thought that spectrum was for enhancing 3G. Is it possible they can split it up or something?

    Now if they use Clearwire’s 2500mhz spectrum, I don’t want it. I hate how it can’t penetrate walls and spotty as hell. They might as well stick with Wimax if that’s the case.

    Then if they’re using Lightsquared, that’s a big gamble when you don’t even know if the FCC will approve it.

  16. I know how they can fix it. They can give us WiMax 4G customers a free upgrade (with contract) to an LTE Phone

  17. Its about time. Sprint is legit number 2 in my book. Verizon being 1. Why they even started with WiMax is beyond me. LTE is the way to go.

    I love my Bionic with LTE

  18. yeah, i dont feel bad about buying the GSII with Sprint. As it stands now, it’ll be another year or so before I’d even get WiMax 4g in my area. And from what i’ve been told by a friend who works at Sprint, all they have to do to switch a tower from WiMax to LTE is swap out blades in the tower control box thing. That’s it, apparently.

  19. Swap my phone, that’s the best I can say. Thank God Sprint 3G is the best in the business of 3G, but, if LTE is coming, as a lifelong sprint customer i’d happily take up that extra speed. They could additionally make it up to me by giving me a data plan for an LTE phone which can hot spot over wifi to 1 device (just mac address limit this, it’s easy) like I can bluetooth dun and usb tether for free on my windows pc. This way my wifi tablet can be on the go with me.

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