Skip to main content

Sprint looking to embrace LTE 4G technology?

Sprint has been offering 4G mobile broadband service via WiMax in selected markets for a few years now, and while the company (and partner Clearwire) are still struggling to find the money to roll out WiMax service to major markets, they have succeeded in bringing WiMax options to major chunks of the U.S. population, particularly in 2010. However, while WiMax may have enabled Sprint to be first to market with 4G services, the company may not be sticking with it: in comments at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a Sprint executive indicated the company is getting ready to pull the trigger on building out its own LTE 4G network, perhaps as a complement to Clearwire’s existing 4G service.

Speaking with PC World, Sprint senior VP of networks Bob Azzi indicated Sprint’s own spectrum holdings enable it to offer LTE 4G services, but don’t enable the company to support WiMax. Right now, Sprint WiMax service is offered through Clearwire, which has extensive spectrum licenses in the WiMax-friendly 2.5 GHz range. Sprint’s own licenses, conversely, are in the 1900 Mhz and 800 MHz band, which could be leverages to provide LTE but not WiMax.

Related Videos

Clearwire has been struggling to find cash to continue its WiMax build-out, recently rolling out a $1.1 billion debt offering to fund operations after laying off a significant portion of its staff in late 2010. Azzi indicated Sprint intends to remain a WiMax partner with Clearwire in markets where WiMax is already operational.

However, but rather than continuing to invest in Clearwire’s network, Sprint may be looking to leverage its own spectrum licenses to roll out LTE 4G service in additional markets. To support LTE service seamlessly, Sprint would probably have to offer tri-band phones that can support both WiMax and LTE service—and Azzi specifically mentioned triband LTE phones with an additional WiMax radio “velcoed on.” It’s not clear how quickly Sprint could introduce LTE service; the PC World article implies the process would be as simple as installing new hardware and software at existing Sprint facilities.

WiMax and LTE technologies have many similarities, and Clearwire itself has announced it was testing layering LTE service on its existing WiMax network last summer. An ability to offer LTE service in addition to WiMax might help Clearwire’s bottom line: it could presumably lease LTE capacity not only to Sprint, but to other carriers looking to offer LTE service.

Editors' Recommendations

5G vs. LTE: What’s the difference, and does it matter?
5G will undoubtedly be faster than LTE, but here’s how else it will be different
android vs ios v maps

If you're shopping for a phone or thinking about switching carriers, then you're likely to come across the terms 5G and LTE. Both relate to mobile networks, but there is still a lot of confusion about the technology right now. If you're uncertain whether you need more than LTE coverage, or wondering if you should buy a 5G phone, then we have you covered right here as we pit 5G vs. LTE and explain the differences.

In short, the G stands for generation, so 5G is the collective term for the fifth generation of mobile network technology. LTE stands for Long-Term Evolution, and it's a 4G technology. The newer 5G is not a replacement for 4G, so you'll find LTE and 5G technology working together for the foreseeable future.
What advantages does 5G bring?
“The main advantage that 5G offers over 4G LTE is faster speeds -- primarily because there will be more spectrum available for 5G, and it uses more advanced radio technology," Els Baert, director of marketing and communications at NetComm, told Digital Trends. "It will also deliver much lower latency than 4G, which will enable new applications in the [Internet of Things] space."

Read more
Mobvoi brings sleep tracking to the TicWatch Pro and TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE
mobvoi ticwatch pro 4glte review 4g lte 21

Apple is rumored to be working on sleep tracking tech for the Apple Watch, but Mobvoi is beating Apple to the punch with new sleep tracking tech for the TicWatch Pro and TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE. The new features will launch as part of the new TicSleep app.

If you're comfortable wearing a watch at night, the sleep tracking tech could actually be pretty helpful -- and will work without you really having to do anything. According to Mobvoi, using artificial intelligence, TicSleep can automatically detect when you're sleeping and start tracking. That's different from many other sleep trackers, which require you to manually start the tracking process.

Read more
Locked 5G phones are one big reason to wait before you upgrade from 4G LTE
T-Mobile 5G test

As promised, 2019 has brought the first live 5G networks, and with those networks, the first 5G phones. For the most data-hungry among us, this is an exciting moment: Download speeds are already several times faster, even in these early days. We’ve tested 5G in several locales -- for Verizon’s network, we traveled to Chicago (twice); for T-Mobile, we walked the streets of New York City. We even flew to Dallas to test Sprint’s 5G network.

You’d think we’d be able to use a single 5G phone in all our tests, right? One like the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which is sold by all four major carriers? Wrong. Unfortunately, the software inside the S10 5G is optimized for each specific carrier -- enough so that you’d need to fork over another $1,300 and get a new S10 5G if you switched carriers. It’s why there is currently no unlocked version of the phone from Samsung.

Read more