Sprint’s pretty gung-ho about their WiMAX initiative. They’ve invested themselves heavily into seeing WiMAX and infrastructure-partner Clearwire grow as the premier mobile broadband network in the US. But, with LTE threatening to steal some of WiMAX’s early-launch thunder, Sprint is reportedly considering LTE as a viable pathway for Sprint’s 4G network.
While Sprint and Clearwire are championing WiMAX as the next big thing in mobile broadband, naysayers are quick to point out that LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks will offer faster speeds and have better market penetration. WiMAX has yet to go nationwide in the US, which puts Sprint in a difficult situation. There’s growing pressure from all the major US carriers for Sprint to get WiMAX up and running on a national scale before big-dogs Verizon and AT&T flip the switch on their LTE networks. Sprint has to see WiMAX through to the end, but will it keep backing WiMAX in the face of growing pressure from the LTE camp?
A statement from Sprint spokesperson John Polivka leads us to believe that Sprint is at least considering the jump to LTE. Sprint is obviously committed to WiMAX, but “… As a prudent Technology Development organization we are always collecting competitive information about various technologies/equipment to monitor and assess the competitive landscape and any potential impacts to Sprint’s plans.”
Sprint’s future as a data-centric network in the US remains unclear. If WiMAX fails to reach the market penetration that Sprint needs to turn a profit, the carrier may be left with no other choice than to adopt LTE technologies for their mobile broadband network. Interestingly, given many analysts’ view that LTE and WiMAX aren’t mutually exclusive technologies, Sprint may go the LTE route even after a successful WiMAX roll-out.