Sprint is on the heel of launching the nation’s very first 4G handset based on Sprint’s WiMax network, but it appears evident that the company is not completely set on WiMax as a long-term 4G choice. It was reported earlier that Sprint has issued a “next-generation network” request for proposal (RFP) regarding LTE, showing that it is dipping its toe in the LTE pool.
A RFP is an invitation for suppliers to bid on a particular service; in this case, Sprint wants suppliers to submit proposals and bids on building out a potential LTE network. While this doesn’t mean Sprint will make the switch to LTE for sure, we can tell by the RFP that at least it’s on Sprint’s mind.
“There’s nothing that prevents us from … moving to LTE,” said Kevin Packingham, senior VP of product and technology development at Sprint. “We’re doing a technology evaluation and making a decision on our core network and how we want to evolve that going forward.”
This recent action is consistent with Sprint’s interests. At his CTIA keynote this year, Dan Hesse admitted that Sprint chose WiMax mainly because it could get 4G out to market earlier than LTE, and mentioned that LTE will likely be the larger of the two 4G standards. In other words, Hesse isn’t ruling out Sprint’s interest in LTE down the road.
Does this mean Sprint is worried that though it is the first 4G carrier in the US, the evolution of LTE will surpass the capabilities of WiMax? I’m quite certain that an possible future 4G downfall is being considered by the company. No matter what decision Sprint makes, it’s incredibly smart for it to start mulling over its options and forecast what lies ahead.
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