Sprint Counters Verizon's 4G Jibe

NEW ORLEANS -- International CTIA Wireless -- It's not the size of the 4G radio channel, it's what you do with it.

That's the gist of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s response to the claims made by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) CTO Tony Melone here Tuesday that Sprint's new Long Term Evolution (LTE) network won't match the performance of Verizon Wireless 's existing 4G network. (See Size Matters for LTE, Verizon CTO Says .)

"I would put this against anyone," Iyad Tarazi, Sprint's VP of network development and engineering, said of the operator's coming LTE network during the company's Network Vision breakfast Wednesday morning.

Sprint is readying six 4G cities for LTE launches by mid-year. Tarazi says that the operator is building in features on the network, such as support for the current LTE release 9 specification and the faster, future release 10, from the beginning. The network will also allow hand-offs between the 1900MHz, 800MHz and 2.5GHz spectrum that Sprint is planning to use "from the get-go," according to Tarazi.

The Verizon CTO's point was that Big Red is using a 10MHz-by-10MHz channel for its LTE deployment, while Sprint is using a 5MHz-by-5MHz channel for its new 4G service. Ergo, all things being equal, the larger channel should perform better.

"Yes, you will see some differences in the peak speed if you're right underneath the cell tower," allowed Bob Azzi, Sprint's senior vice president of network. He described the CTO's comments as "theoretical" and said the differences would be washed away on a commercial network.

"We're very confident that this dog will hunt," proclaimed Azzi of the operator's soon-to-arrive LTE network.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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