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Sprint extends WiMAX reach; considers LTE

US carrier Sprint this week launched WiMAX in a handful of new metropolitan areas amid speculation that the firm is also considering an LTE strategy that could pave the way to a merger with T-Mobile USA.

The WiMAX poster child switched on its 4G service in Rochester, N.Y., Syracuse, N.Y., Merced, Calif., Visalia, Calif., Eugene, Ore., Tri-Cities, Wash., and Yakima, Wash. taking the company’s 4G offering to 43 markets, with plans for Los Angeles, New York and Miami by the end of 2010.

Sprint has launched a hard hitting marketing campaign, pitching its 4G service as delivering download speeds “up to ten times faster than 3G”. The carrier’s WiMAX network covers 43 million people across 33 markets and Sprint expects to have up to 120 million people covered by the end of 2010. Last month the company trumpeted the launch of its first WiMAX-enabled handset, the HTC Evo 4G, which sold so well it marked the largest quantity of a single phone sold in one day ever for Sprint.

In fact it is now understood that HTC can’t deliver Evos fast enough, putting something of a crimp in Sprint’s plans to boost its subscriber base.

In the background however, chief executive Dan Hesse has said that the company is also considering a shift to LTE, as a dual 4G strategy alongside WiMAX.

The news has reignited speculation of a potential merger between Sprint and Deutsche Telekom’s US operation, T-Mobile USA, which is also likely to follow the LTE route.

Want to find out more about all the latest LTE news happening in North America?  Attend our LTE North America large-scale conference and exhibition taking place in Dallas, Texas on 10-11 November 2010.  For more information please visit: www.lteconference.com/northamerica

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