This, my friends, is a big deal. According to a report that surfaced on Bloomberg on Friday, Sprint has partnered with telecom infrastructure company LightSquared in a 15 year deal that will enable Sprint to deploy a LTE (Long Term Evolution) 4G network. The leaked information comes via a letter that letter LightSquared's founder, billionaire Philip Falcone, sent to investors. According to the letter,
“LightSquared and Sprint will jointly develop, deploy and operate LightSquared’s 4G LTE network. Sprint will become a significant customer of LightSquared’s 4G LTE network.”
There's been rumblings and rumors for a while now about Sprint possibly switching from WiMax to LTE. This includes a statement earlier this year from Sprint's CEO Dan Hesse saying that a decision regarding a possible LTE network would be made this year.
So what does this mean for existing WiMax 4G phone's? Click through to the rest of the article for our thoughts, as well as more information about this potential deal.
According to the letter sent to the investors, Sprint's part of the deal will include sharing the cost of equipment and expansion of LightSquared's network, in exchange for giving Sprint subscribers access to it. This is a big deal as it signals the possible demise of WiMax as a candidate for the 4G marketspace.
However, Sprint already has some pretty strong ties to WiMax through such devices as the extremely popular HTC EVO 4G, the Epic 4G, as well as the upcoming EVO 3D. What's going to happen to these users? Will the lose access to 4G bandwidth?
I say no. At least not immediately. Sprint must maintain a 4G presence in the market, or it will appear that the company is moving backwards, an impression that Sprint, who has lost subscribers for 14 of the last 15 quarters, can not risk. As long as Sprint is writing contracts for phones that require WiMax to support 4G connectivity, they are committed to continuing support for WiMax. So go ahead and buy that EVO 3D, you won't be left out in the dark when it comes to 4G service.