Sprint & Clearwire Bury LTE Hatchet

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is moving closer to working with Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) on Long Term Evolution (LTE).

On the carrier's third-quarter earnings call, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse revealed that the operator has signed a non-binding cooperation agreement with Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) to work on the technical specifications of its LTE network. (See Sprint Network Vision and 4G LTE Plans Should Integrate with Clearwire .)

Clearwire had previously said that it needed $600 million to complete a fast LTE overlay on its existing 71-city WiMax footprint. Sprint will now work with Clearwire on the details and timing of its LTE deployment.

The deal is a first step toward a full LTE agreement between the two erstwhile partners. Hesse said that the carriers are working toward "a superb customer experience" for Sprint users on the LTE network.

This is the second major LTE agreement that Sprint has signed. The operator also has a deal to support LightSquared on its upgraded "Network Vision" 3G and 4G infrastructure.

Despite what appeared to be shaky relations between Sprint and Clearwire in recent months, a move toward a real agreement should be good news for both.

With its plans for spectrum carrier aggregation through LTE Advanced (release 10) in 2013, Sprint needs as much spectrum as possible. And, Clearwire can now get some muscle behind its LTE plans. (See Sprint Plans LTE-Advanced Launch in 2013 and Clearwire Goes It Alone With Faster 4G.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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