Sprint CEO: More LTE Info Coming This Summer

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) CEO Dan Hesse said Tuesday that the operator has been talking to WiMax partners but didn't give much color on further 4G deals or future plans for Long Term Evolution (LTE).

Hesse talked strategy at a JP.MorganChase conference in Boston today. He said that a network-hosting deal -- whereby Sprint gets spectrum and in turn hosts the donor operator on its network -- was "a potential that could happen" for Clearwire. A network-sharing deal between the two has been widely anticipated since Sprint re-upped a $1 billion wholesale agreement with Clearwire in March. (See Sprint Gives Clearwire $1B Boost.)

While Hesse did confirm that Sprint is also talking to other carriers about network sharing, he didn't name LightSquared , which is the deal that many in the telecom market are waiting to hear about. (See Sprint/LightSquared Deal Expected Soon.)

An agreement between the two has been rumored as early as this month. Such a deal, however, would tip Sprint's hand about using LTE, as LightSquared only plans to implement that flavor of 4G.

To that end, Hesse once again reiterated that Sprint will make an announcement about its future 4G plans mid-year. This could mean at least another month or two before the LightSquared-Sprint saga plays out.

"I don’t think an announcement is imminent, it sounds like they’re still evaluating options and an announcement will come with their 4G announcement in the summer," suggests Michael Nelson, executive director of equity research in telecom services at Mizuho Securities USA Inc.

Of course, the continued concern over the potential of the LightSquared network to mess with GPS could put a damper on the whole escapade. Even if, as DSLReports notes, there is definite anticipation of Sprint, Clearwire and LightSquared forming a "super union" to take on their massive rivals in the future. (See FAA Warns on LightSquared GPS Tests in Nevada.)

Financial types on the network-infrastructure side are also gagging to know whether LightSquared will get onboard with Sprint's Network Vision multi-modal base station plan. The reason being that such a move would be detrimental to tune of $7 billion for Nokia Networks but a boost for Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC). (See NSN: We're Still in at LightSquared.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:05:10 PM
re: Sprint CEO: More LTE Info Coming This Summer

Pretty funny that they won't yet admit that they're going to LTE when Clearwire has been gushing over its LTE tests for months now. What else could they realistically do?

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:05:05 PM
re: Sprint CEO: More LTE Info Coming This Summer

re: devices


Plus they'll have to try and add L-Band support if they bring TowerStream under their wing.

Eric Kainer 12/5/2012 | 5:05:05 PM
re: Sprint CEO: More LTE Info Coming This Summer

If they need to assure availability to the best devices, they'll have to move to LTE.  If you don't have access to the best devices, you're a 2nd rate operator.  The Evo line has been a godsend for Sprint and Clearwire.

There are, of course, myriad complexities in the conversion, as the whole installed base will need to turn over.  

How long will they run both technologies?  How much will be the incremental OpEx?  The incremental CapEx?  Remember, this is not a company blessed with extra capital.

What will the subsidies look like for "upgrading"?  I'd assume they'll only need to subsidize their retail base, with their partners providing subsidies for the wholesale subs.


joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:04:32 PM
re: Sprint CEO: More LTE Info Coming This Summer

We don't know for sure yet. In theory they could with the basestations that support multiple RF interfaces and frequencies. Sprint and LightSquared are rumored to be in discussions.

alandal 12/5/2012 | 5:04:32 PM
re: Sprint CEO: More LTE Info Coming This Summer

is TowerStream deploying L band LTE?

Sign In