HTC EVO-friendly WiMAX seems increasingly irrelevant as more details are learned about Sprint's 4G strategy
More details have been made clear about Sprint’s upcoming Strategy Update that is scheduled for October 7. This includes the launch of a brand new 4G LTE network in early 2012 that will be wholly owned by Sprint. This new network is being built out right now, although it still remains unclear exactly what this means for current HTC EVO users, whose devices run on Clearwire’s 4G WiMAX network.
Sprint is using a type of 4G technology in this new buildout called FD-LTE. This is the same type of LTE that Verizon Wireless is currently using, thus leaving open the possibility of future roaming agreements. In addition, Sprint is planning on using its G-block spectrum, which it got from its past merger with Nextel, as well as extra spectrum that will be freed as it slowly phases out Nextel’s older iDEN network. These lower 4G frequencies will ultimately make possible better indoor coverage and faster data speeds than what is currently available with WiMAX.
Clearwire’s role in Sprint’s 4G LTE network deployment remains unclear. Although Clearwire recently announced that it too plans on building out a nationwide LTE network, its flavor of LTE is called TD-LTE. This is not compatible with Sprint’s new network without a special chipset.
LightSquared’s role in this is also equally unclear, as is how Sprint will handle the many customers who currently own WiMAX devices like the HTC EVO. One possibility that we’ve mentioned is a deployment of EVDO Rev B across Sprint’s entire 3G footprint, bringing even faster 3G speeds of up to 9Mbps to devices like the HTC EVO 3D. This would hopefully satisfy data-hungry power users until LTE is fully deployed nationwide.
In any case, Sprint claims that building out its own LTE network will ultimately save it up to $11 billion over a seven year period. And any way you look at it, that will definitely make stock holders happy.[CNET]