Sprint Planning LTE Switch by 2013

It looks like AT&T and Verizon won’t be alone in the LTE world for long, as Sprint has announced plans to rollout a vast LTE network by 2013. At its 4G Strategy/Network Vision event on Friday, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse explained how the LTE network will come to be:

Our progress deploying Network Vision enables Sprint to extend and evolve our 4G leadership and to improve the experience for 3G customers. Our next-generation network and cutting-edge device lineup, combined with the industry’s best pricing plans, give Sprint customers the best experience in wireless.

Sprint also announced plans for fifteen CMA/4G LTE devices in mid 2012, as reported by BGR,  to help consumers transition from CDMA to LTE. This lineup includes phones, tablets, and data cards. The main idea here is that they’ll launch LTE on their 1900MHz spectrum by the middle of next year, and then expand that coverage into 2013. Sprint is calling this plan “Network Vision,” which we think is pretty fitting.

No word on what kinds of speeds customers will see with LTE devices from Sprint, but only time will tell. The full press release can be found after the break.

So, who’s excited about Sprint’s switch to LTE? Anyone holding off on buying a phone until their new devices come out next year? Sound off in the comments!

[spoiler show=”Show Press Release”]

Sprint Accelerates Deployment of Network Vision and Announces National Rollout of 4G LTE

LTE deployment expected to reach 250 million people by 2013

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), October 07, 2011 – At its 4G Strategy/Network Vision Update event today in New York, Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) updated the financial community on its plans to accelerate deployment of Network Vision and its plans to roll out 4G LTE on its licensed spectrum. Network Vision, originally announced in December 2010, is Sprint’s plan to consolidate multiple network technologies into one seamless network with the goal of increasing efficiency and enhancing network coverage, call quality and data speeds for customers across the United States.

Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO, said, “Our progress deploying Network Vision enables Sprint to extend and evolve our 4G leadership and to improve the experience for 3G customers. Our next-generation network and cutting-edge device lineup, combined with the industry’s best pricing plans, give Sprint customers the best experience in wireless.”

The company’s presentation today, which featured Hesse; Steve Elfman, president-Network Operations and Wholesale; Bob Azzi, senior vice president-Network; Fared Adib, vice president-Product Development; and Joseph Euteneuer, chief financial officer, highlighted the following:

  • Sprint making significant progress on Network Vision deployment. Sprint reviewed progress to date in deploying Network Vision, including the rollout and successful testing and trialing of multimode technology, the launch of Sprint® Direct Connect® on the CDMA network and the new devices launching in the fourth quarter. As a result of the success and the progress made so far, the company is now targeting completion of Network Vision deployment by the end of 2013 – two years sooner than originally scheduled.
  • Sprint will begin a rapid national rollout of LTE on its 1900MHz spectrum. Sprint plans to launch 4G LTE on its 1900MHz spectrum by midyear 2012 and complete the network build-out by the end of 2013. By the conclusion of 2013, Sprint’s 4G coverage footprint is expected to cover more than 250 million people.

    Sprint expects to launch CDMA-LTE devices by mid-2012, with approximately 15 devices coming throughout the year – including handsets, tablets and data cards. Additionally, CDMA-WiMAX 4G devices, like the award-winning HTC EVOTM 4G, Samsung EpicTM 4G Touch and Nexus STM 4G, will continue to be sold throughout 2012.

  • Sprint introduces spectrum-hosting business. Management described Sprint’s unique ability to host third-party spectrum and how it’s made possible through the Network Vision multimode base stations. The spectrum-hosting opportunity capitalizes on Sprint’s Network Vision platform and uses its flexible, open technology architecture. Spectrum hosting is a new revenue opportunity for Sprint and a cost-effective way to gain additional network capacity to better serve Sprint customers.
  • Network Vision provides significant economic benefit to Sprint. Sprint reaffirmed the economic benefits associated with Network Vision. As declared last December, Network Vision is expected to cost an incremental $4 billion to $5 billion and deliver $10 billion to $11 billion in net economic value to the company between 2011 and 2017. Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization (OIBDA) margin is expected to improve 400 to 600 basis points or about 4 percent to 6 percent from current levels by 2014. The primary components of value come from a broader footprint (reduced roaming costs), cell-site reduction, the elimination of dual networks, backhaul efficiencies, reduced churn, more efficient use of capital and energy cost savings.

    In parallel to the Network Vision initiative, Sprint also stated that it is pursuing improvements in its core operations that could result in an additional 400 to 600 basis points or about 4 percent to 6 percent of OIBDA margin improvement by 2014.

Euteneuer said, “Network Vision creates a platform for growth and competitive advantage and delivers significant profitability upside potential. Over the long term, continued execution on Network Vision as well as other improvements to our core operations are expected to result in overall margin expansion, improved return on invested capital, and, ultimately, increased value for our shareholders.”

Sprint Nextel Webcast Information

A replay of the webcast may be accessed at www.sprint.com/investors.

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 52 million customers at the end of 2Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.


  • I am eligible for an upgrade now, and I figure by the time LTE rolls out, I will be eligible for another device that supports LTE.  So now my question is should I get the Samsung Galaxy II now, or wait for some questionable Sprint Nexus Prime.  Hmmm….

  • DrKK

    I don’t know.  Sprint has a slightly inferior network, and the competitors’ plans are getting comparably priced.  While I am a Sprint customer, I am giving serious thought to pulling the trigger and moving over to the VZ.  I am really unaware of a single compelling reason to stay with Sprint.  This is why their stock is the only stock down today.

  • Young_sang_lee

    If you don’t mind getting your data plan capped, or paying outrageous prices once you exceed your data plan, then VZ and AT&T are the way to go.  I’m a current TMobile user and the slow speeds after I pass my limit are unbelievably frustrating.  I’m switching to Sprint now to lock in my unlimited data plan package since Sprint might switch over to do the same thing that VZ and AT&T are doing after the LTE network is rolled out…

  • I will wait for the new Sprint LTE phone, but I want to know the D/U speeds!??

  • Mahfuz

    I had a Sprint EVO 4G and it was a great phone except for the 4G part.  Sprint’s WiMax network basically doesn’t work for mobile applications.  The problems are threefold:

    (1) 4G WiMax coverage is pretty limited in scope and coverage inside buildings is sparse or non-existent.  Usually, you’ll have WiFi or have to use slow 3G coverage in this case. 

    (2) 4G WiMax drains the phone battery pretty quickly.  Sprint actually advised me once to keep it plugged in.  I was thinking WTF do you mean by that?!?!  Isn’t this a GD MOBILE phone?!?  Even with a big battery, the 4G WiMax lasts maybe an hour or so from 100% full.  Basically, the only time you can ACTUALLY use 4G WiMax is in a car where you’re (A) Outside and (B) can plug in to a car charger.  However, then there is the deal breaker in (3)…

    (3) 4G WiMax does NOT hold a connection persistenly when transferring between cell sites.  So, if you’re driving in the car and using 4G WiMax for whatever (i.e. navigation, streaming music, etc), you’ll likely be interrupted b/c the data connection goes down and switches to 3G at which point you can’t be on the phone talking while you’re trying to consume data. 

    Hence, 4G WiMax is a FAIL all around and the reason Sprint is joining the LTE party (too little, too late for me)