Sprint, WiMAX, and LTE

Sprint raced out of the 4G gate a while back with it’s WiMAX offering as it partnered with Clearwire. A good move if you’re looking at the joy of having a few “firsts” such as the first 4G phone that Sprint was so proud to talk about. I now have an HTC Evo (that is quite a story in its own right…soon enough) and even though the phone has been out for over a year, it’s a pretty darn good phone. Not bad for a first! However, while Clearwire (aka Sprint) was expanding their 4G WiMAX network, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile were working on their LTE offerings. Not first to market for 4G by any means, but having multiple carriers running the same technology certainly helps as it will help drive down prices for parts and equipment. This is probably why Sprint has decided to do a deal with LightSquared and get their own LTE 4G network going. Imagine Sprint trying to negotiate with various handset manufacturers…”please build us a CDMA phone (not too bad of a stretch since that’s what Verizon runs on) with WiMAX chips in there too”. I can see Spring losing a lot of interest from manufacturers with that pitch.

So now we’ve got Sprint supposedly in a big deal with LightSquared. Who did the due-diligence here? LightSquared has been under the microscope for a while now for having a network that has been screwing with GPS receivers. LightSquared’s spectrum is right there next to the GPS spectrum. Sooooo…Sprint is prepping a deal with a company that may not even be able to build out this LTE network? I’m still baffled as to why Sprint went along with that one. However, Sprint isn’t the only company to do so as NetTalk just joined the fray too and has signed on with LightSquared. Do they all know something we don’t?

I was curious as to what Sprint would do with their WiMAX network should they go to LTE. That’s a lot of build-out to just toss aside and move on. I think it was a smart move by Sprint to officially outline their enterprise targeted initiative for a WiMAX WAN solution. It’s an area that doesn’t have too much competition just yet (will it ever?) and the network is already in place. It’s been tested and now Sprint can offer it to enterprise customers. Good job! A WiMAX WAN for enterprise and LTE efficiencies for the cellular (mostly consumer-side) customers. Now to see if it really works as planned or now. What do you have LightSquared?