Sprint details plans for 4G LTE rollout

Sprint Dan Hesse

Sprint has finally gotten the iPhone—and now the carrier is looking to move aggressively into the world of 4G LTE mobile broadband, announcing in a network strategy session for investors (Webcast) plans to roll out LTE service in 120 U.S. markets by the end of 2012, and expand that to about 260 markets by the end of 2013. The company also says it plans to launch its first LTE devices in 2012—with the first to come in the summer—with a total of a dozen or more available by year-end.

The announcement comes as part of Sprint’s broader Network Vision plan, which sees the company continuing to bridge multiple network technologies across its systems, even as it moves forward with previously-announced plans to phase out Nextel iDEN service in 2013. Sprint’s LTE network will be based around 1.9 GHz spectrum, and the rollout will be augmented by a network-sharing deal with LightSquared—this summer Sprint announced a 15-year, $9 billion deal with LightSquared that has LightSquared paying Sprint to roll out a terrestrial LTE network to support LightSquared’s satellite-based service, and which gives Sprint an option to use up to 50 percent of the network’s capacity—in exchange, LightSquared gets a ground network and access to Sprint’s 3G services. Sprint will continue operating its CDMA-based 3G service to cover areas that aren’t served by WiMax or LTE.

Sprint’s decision to rely on LightSquared is contingent on LightSquared getting full approvals to launch its satellite-based services. LightSquared has attracted controversy over potentially blocking low-powered GPS signals. LightSquared says it has mitigated the problems by shifting to a new set of frequencies for its initial rollouts, and claims interference problems are GPS makers’ faults.

Sprint indicated it plans to continue to sell 4G WiMax devices in partnership with Clearwire though at least the end of 2011. Clearwire is also looking to add LTE services to its existing 4G network in the 71 markets in which it operates: if Clearwire can secure funding for the upgrade and to continue operating its network, Clearwire could significantly augment Sprint’s 4G offerings. However, if Clearwire can’t scare up money to convert to LTE and keep the lights on, it’s days may be numbered.

The question is whether Sprint is too late pulling the trigger on LTE services: Verizon Wireless says it will have LTE service operating in more than 160 U.S. markets this month, and AT&T is already running in five major cities with plans for additional rollouts this year—and that’s on top of HSPA+ 3G services. Sprint already has 4G WiMax offerings in many markets, but won’t be able to offer its first LTE devices (in limited markets, no doubt) until mid-2012. Will that be too late?

Mobile

Verizon wants you to lobby the government for 5G deployment

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.
Mobile

Sprint’s 5G rollout: Everything you need to know about it

Sprint is building its next-gen 5G network in preparation for a 2019 rollout, but it's taking a decidedly different approach than some of its competitors, including Verizon and AT&T. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

T-Mobile says Sprint merger will boost 5G speeds by up to 6 times

2019 will be a huge year for T-Mobile. Not only is a merger with Sprint likely, but T-Mobile is also in the midst of building out its next-generation mobile service. Here's everything you need to know about the T-Mobile 5G rollout.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Mobile

Need speed? Qualcomm unveils the Snapdragon X55, the world’s fastest 5G modem

Qualcomm is preparing for an even faster future: The silicon giant just unveiled a second generation 5G modem for smartphones, promising blistering download speeds as high as 7Gbps.
Mobile

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…
Product Review

Fascinating Finney phone is crypto in a nutshell: Exciting, but also terrifying

The Sirin Labs Finney phone is to cryptocurrency what the iPhone is to Apple Pay. It facilitates the payment, processing, and exchanging of cryptocurrencies on a smartphone, and surprisingly does it in a user-friendly way.
Home Theater

Accidentally aired Samsung ad shows Galaxy S10, Galaxy Buds a day before launch

One day before the launch event that is widely expected to contain both the new Galaxy S10 smartphone and the Galaxy Buds fully wireless earbuds, an accidentally aired Samsung TV ad from Norway confirms both products.
Mobile

The name of Samsung's folding phone may have been revealed a day early

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy Fold, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.
Mobile

The Razer Phone 2 is getting Android 9.0 Pie starting this month

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Deals

Apple brings back the iPhone SE with a $100 clearance discount included

Apple is offering the iPhone SE on their online clearance store once again. With discounts of $100, you can get a brand new unlocked iPhone SE for as little as $249. This offer is only available while supplies last.
Mobile

Apple stomps on one FaceTime bug, only to have another one appear

Having fixed a FaceTime bug that let users eavesdrop on calls, another issue with Apple's video chat app appears to have surfaced. It concerns adding people to group calls, though there is a workaround.
Mobile

Vivo V15 Pro’s trick camera rises to the challenge of making us smile

Vivo knows it's onto a winner with the cool motorized camera seen on the Vivo Nex S, and has now incorporated a newer version of the technology into the V15 Pro. We've tried it out.
Mobile

To avoid the notch, Vivo’s new smartphone has a secret selfie camera

Vivo has already experimented with a motorized selfie camera and now it's bringing the cool technology to a more affordable device -- the Vivo V15 Pro. Here's everything you need to know about the phone.