Sprint Ready to Leapfrog to Multi-Mode

Working with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Samsung on 'Network Vision' to combine 3G and WiMax in single 'seamless' base station

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

December 6, 2010

2 Min Read
Sprint Ready to Leapfrog to Multi-Mode

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has revealed some more technical details of its plan to support 3G and "4G" wireless services on a single platform and announced that vendors Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) will start to deliver the hardware and software to implement the "Network Vision" project in 2011, saving the operator billions of dollars over time.

The heart of the plan is a multi-mode base station that will support CDMA, iDEN, and WiMax on a single platform. Sprint currently supports CDMA on 1900MHz, iDEN on 800MHz and -- through its partner Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) -- WiMax on 2.5GHz, all using separate equipment. Sprint had earlier referred to this plan as "Project Leapfrog" internally.

The plan is that the vendors supply hardware, software, and services that help the carrier consolidate these services, starting in 2011. The carrier expects that the project could take three to five years to complete.

Sprint says the project will be divided between Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Samsung on "a market-by-market basis." The markets for each company will include:

  • Alcatel-Lucent: New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington/Baltimore, and Los Angeles

  • Ericsson: Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Kansas City, and Dallas

  • Samsung: Chicago, Denver, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Seattle

    Why this matters
    Sprint estimates that it will send up to US$5 billion on the project over the initial three- to five-year deployment period and reap a net financial benefit over a seven-year period of between $10 billion and $11 billion. Cost savings are expected to come from capital efficiencies, reducing energy costs, lowering roaming expenses, backhaul savings, and the eventual reduction in total cell sites. Sprint expects to start seeing the net benefits from the project in 2013.

    Part of this plan calls for Sprint finally getting users off Nextel's old iDEN service and re-using the 800MHz spectrum to improve its CDMA network. Starting in 2011, Sprint plans to improve its push-to-talk (PTT) service on CDMA, move users over via multi-mode handsets, and then begin phasing out iDEN in 2013.

    For more
    Read more about the network project and iDEN below:

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like