Sprint likes to advertise that it is leading innovation by starting the nation’s first 4G network with WiMAX, but now it appears that they’re second guessing themselves. With the other three major U.S. carriers confirming they’re going with LTE as their 4G solution, Sprint is probably getting worried about their decision to go with WiMAX, which would leave them the only carrier with that technology as of now. On Wednesday, Sprint issues a Request For Proposal (RFP) from 4G equipment manufacturers, which included LTE.
Sprint’s CEO, Dan Hesse, has even said that Sprint could easily make the switch from WiMAX to LTE if it was necessary. Sprint’s VP of Device and Technology Development, Mathew Oommen, said that Sprint needs to “future proof” its network and that it must “leverage all the assets we have in such a way that offers us the lowest cost per bit” while not becoming “prescriptive to a particular technology.” Their Senior VP of Product Technology, Kevin Packingham, also said “there’s nothing that prevents us from moving to LTE. We’re doing a technology evaluation and making a decision on our core network and how we want to evolve that going forward.”
What do you think? Since Sprint has a partner with Clearwire for WiMAX, they could probably continue to expand WiMAX in niche markets, but use LTE as the upgrade path for their CDMA network. Roaming agreements for LTE also come into play. Since Sprint has the only WiMAX network, there’s nobody to roam with, especially if the other major carriers are going with LTE. As we all know, Sprint has some pretty good roaming agreements with Verizon Wireless and US Cellular for their CDMA network.
Also, what does this mean for the upcoming HTC Evo 4G? We know it will be compatible with their existing CDMA network and their WiMAX network, but what if Sprint decides to go with LTE? Depending on the upgrade path they choose, this device might be out-dated within a year or two because it won’t support LTE. We all know how the smartphone market works though, in a year or two, we all know that there will be a better device than the Evo 4G.
What are your thoughts? What do you think is the best move for Sprint? Will this effect your plans of buying the Evo 4G?