Sprint has the option of investing further in Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) and continuing with a WiMax-only service or adding Long Term Evolution (LTE) to the mix for 4G, using its partner for the new technology or re-jigging its digital spectrum to add more 4G to its 3G services. The operator's "Network Vision" (aka "Project Leapfrog") strategy allows it to add LTE to its multi-modal bases but none of the company's executives has definitively said that it will move to LTE.
They say Richard Pike at Techie Insider is reporting that Sprint is in secret talks with LightSquared with an eye to using the LTE upstart's planned satellite and terrestrial 4G network. This lone report doesn't reveal its source -- or sources -- but a rumored Sprint and LightSquared tie-up is nonetheless worth keeping an eye on.
The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, says that Sprint is de-emphasizing its current 4G WiMax service and, hence, its partnership with Clearwire. Last year, the company had tied the growth of its "4G Now" service to executive bonuses but the Sprint board has now dropped that requirement for 2011, it was revealed Monday.
Need a refresher course on Sprint's multiple options for 4G? The operator's hometown paper, The Kansas City Star, is there for you.
Mark Davis has a nice, comprehensive rundown of how Sprint's early 4G lead is fading away. The piece builds on the operator's statements at Mobile World Congress but lays out all the options for the third-ranked cellular player as larger rivals start to deploy LTE.
We say Want to understand how Sprint can move to LTE? LR Mobile has the details:
- MWC 2011: Sprint's LTE D-Day Next Month?
- MWC 2011: Sprint Plotting LTE in 2012 or 2013?
- Sprint in 'Good' Talks With Clearwire on Financing
- Sprint Ready to Leapfrog to Multi-Mode
- Sprint Gives 'Leapfrog' Details
- 4G World: Sprint Ready to Play 'Leapfrog'
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile