While Sprint is banking on WiMAX as the next-generation wireless data network of choice in the US, all other carriers are looking to bring on 4G LTE technology in the coming years. With AT&T and Verizon Wireless already planning LTE network roll outs for 2011 and on, the smaller guys risk falling behind in the mobile broadband game if they don’t keep up.
To that end, Alltel, the No. 5 US carrier, has announced that it has committed itself to rolling out a 4G LTE network in three to five years. “We do currently plan to move towards LTE in the three-to-five year timeframe versus WiMAX, but we’re still early in that,” according to Alltel President and CEO Scott Ford.
The move to the 4G LTE technology makes Alltel the second CDMA carrier (Verizon Wireless being the first) to adopt the GSM-based LTE network evolution path as its future wireless communications standard. The announcement of Alltel’s intention to go with LTE comes on the heels of 380,000 new subscribers last quarter. Given the substantial infrastructure and network deployment costs that will undoubtedly be racked up by Alltel in the next few years, an increase in subscriber sign-ups will definitely help fund the adoption of LTE.
It’s looking like LTE is the way to go for the long-term. So, with WiMAX hitting the stage earlier than any LTE technology, can Sprint win over and keep mobile broadband users’ hearts? Or will LTE prevail? Sound off in the comments section.