Sprint Must Spend Big to Go Big With 4G
It became clear this week that Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) will be spending big to support the 4G upgrades to its network this year as initial Long Term Evolution (LTE) devices could arrive soon.
Capex and vendor cash Analysts at Jefferies & Co. Inc. are predicting that the third-ranked U.S. carrier could double its capital expenditure over 2011 with a $6 billion spend to support its "Network Vision" upgrades.
Some of that cash could come from infrastructure suppliers, as Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer said Tuesday at the Barclays Capital High Yield Bond And Syndicated Loan Conference that the company is looking to close between $1 billion and $3 billion in vendor financing from three companies this quarter. Sprint just happens to have three infrastructure suppliers for Network Vision: Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Samsung.
Early 4G devices CFO Euteneuer hinted at that some Android devices will be coming to Sprint's LTE network. He didn't say that High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) would be among the vendors launching devices, he did acknowledge that Sprint and HTC have an event coming up. The CFO also hinted at the possibility of an LTE iPhone for Sprint in the fall.
Where's the footprint? Sprint's Euteneuer said that many more LTE markets will follow the initial six planned for mid-year. SVP of Networks Bob Azzi, backed this up on Thursday saying that the company has up to 6,000 employees and support staff working on 3G and 4G upgrades right now. The LTE markets are expected to cover up to 120 million Americans by the end of this year.
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