Will Sprint Switch To LTE? It's Possible

Will Sprint Switch To LTE? It's Possible

At the Long Term Evolution (LTE) event in Amsterdam, Sprint revealed that it is evaluating equipment suppliers for a major technology evolution of its CDMA network in the U.S. The company also indicated it is open to LTE.

Sprint's VP of device and technology development Mathew Oommen told Light Reading Mobile the wireless carrier is evaluating future technological choices for its core CDMA network. This could include LTE. As Oommen put it, "We want to future proof our network. We want to leverage all the assets we have in such a way that offers us the lowest cost per bit." He also added that it's important to "not be prescriptive to a particular technology."

In considering its options, Sprint has remained open to the LTE standard, the same 4G standard that Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile have committed to deploying. "There's nothing that prevents us from... moving to LTE," said Kevin Packingham, senior VP of product and technology development at Sprint, speaking at the LTE event. "We're doing a technology evaluation and making a decision on our core [CDMA] network and how we want to evolve that going forward."

Thus far, Sprint has been behind the WiMAX standard and has already rolled out WiMAX service with Clearwire. To date, Sprint and Clearwire's 4G WiMAX network is the only available 4G network in the U.S. Clearwire has said it will standardize on the best technology and can switch to LTE if need be.

As Sprint looks to evolve its CDMA network, the wireless carrier has submitted a request for proposal (RFP) from many of the world's wireless networking technology companies. Sprint has not specified which technology it will use in evolving its network. Packingham also noted that the company doesn't view WiMAX and LTE as being mutually exclusive.

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This is interesting, from what I understand Wimax and LTE can run over the same equipment. I am not concrete on this, but I have hear other wireless carriers as well as Sprint say they could switch without a major financial investment, or time delay. That means to me that the difference is software, and interpolation methods. The overall price in switching to 4G rather than using 3G or at&t's 3.5G is at least from seeing what is required for a 4G tower quite a bit lower. The network tower transmission equipment consist's of a basic 2x4x6-8 metal tower, and 6-9 antennae on the top of an existing tower. Where a 3G connection at the tower requires a base building of 20x10x8 (of the ones I have seen they were brick as well) as well as the antennae etc.

This boils down to two things. The first is most likely a 2-4 man team, and most likely couple of days to implement. Whereas the 3G would probably take at least a week and maybe 2-3 to put in as well as at least double the team members. The method between Wimax or LTE from there seems to come from the main communication servers, and is software only I would assume.

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Gee, then maybe they could actually spend a little of the money the government has been paying them (phone companies) to improve infrastructure in this country in the form of tax breaks for the last ten years. The federals were too stupid however to make them guarantee fair prices to the public.

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Clearwire has been touting that they could switch to LTE any time they wanted for a long time.

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