Sprint, the LTE iPhone & 4G Plans
5:30 PM -- A Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) executive says that the operator will offer a 4G iPhone if rivals AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless get a Long Term Evolution (LTE) smartphone from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) this year.
Talking at the Barclays Capital High Yield Bond And Syndicated Loan Conference on Tuesday, Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer said that the operator is "not going to be disadvantaged" if and when it comes to launching an LTE iPhone.
"When you think about our LTE, we're talking about being at 100 [million] to 120 million pops [customers covered] by year-end, which are all the major metropolitan markets," Euteneuer said. "If you make the assumption that they launch a device at a similar time that they did last year, you're basically done with the major markets."
Euteneuer says that the six LTE markets already announced will be followed by more over the year. "The speeds and everything will be totally comparable," Euteneuer says of Sprint's upcoming network versus AT&T and Verizon's 4G networks.
The CFO didn't sound too concerned that consumers would worry about buying 4G devices and moving between LTE and 3G. "It won't matter to them, its going to be about the experience on the phone," he said.
"A lot of what you find with iPhone users is that they love the iconic nature of the device, they love its usability and the fact is, the experience has always been good whether you're on 3G or 4G." This bucks the conventional wisdom that the iPhone will be the device that helps to break LTE in for the U.S. as customers clamor for the 4G smartphone. The recent experience of the launch of the new iPad might bear this out, as many buyers didn't seem to know what 4G was.
Sprint could still try and push the iPhone on its network with unlimited data plans, particularly as users can chomp through data with the faster wireless download capabilities of LTE.
Euteneuer gave no sign that Sprint would drop unlimited plans for smartphones, as it has for tablets and laptops. "We have plenty of runway room to maintain that," he said.
So what's more important to you? Raw speed or data headroom? — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile