The heart of the plan is a multi-mode base station that will support CDMA, iDEN, and WiMax on a single platform. Sprint currently supports CDMA on 1900MHz, iDEN on 800MHz and -- through its partner Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) -- WiMax on 2.5GHz, all using separate equipment. Sprint had earlier referred to this plan as "Project Leapfrog" internally.
The plan is that the vendors supply hardware, software, and services that help the carrier consolidate these services, starting in 2011. The carrier expects that the project could take three to five years to complete.
Sprint says the project will be divided between Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Samsung on "a market-by-market basis." The markets for each company will include:
Why this matters Sprint estimates that it will send up to US$5 billion on the project over the initial three- to five-year deployment period and reap a net financial benefit over a seven-year period of between $10 billion and $11 billion. Cost savings are expected to come from capital efficiencies, reducing energy costs, lowering roaming expenses, backhaul savings, and the eventual reduction in total cell sites. Sprint expects to start seeing the net benefits from the project in 2013.
Part of this plan calls for Sprint finally getting users off Nextel's old iDEN service and re-using the 800MHz spectrum to improve its CDMA network. Starting in 2011, Sprint plans to improve its push-to-talk (PTT) service on CDMA, move users over via multi-mode handsets, and then begin phasing out iDEN in 2013.
For more Read more about the network project and iDEN below:
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile