updated 02:05 pm EDT, Thu May 15, 2008
Alltel to Use LTE for 4G
Alltel will use Long Term Evolution (LTE) for its next-generation phone network, according to statements made during a conference call discussing the provider's latest financial results. Company chief Scott Ford explained that the technology is Alltel's pick and that LTE will have a "significant" installed base for the company's cellular network within the next three to five years. Ford doesn't say when Alltel will start its rollout, but notes that there is no short-term budget and that nothing will be underway until at least 2009.
The move makes Alltel the third carrier in the US to confirm a move to LTE following similar mentions by AT&T and Verizon and will potentially allow subscribers of either of the three networks to roam on each other's services for both calling and data. In the present climate, the use of the GSM calling standard by AT&T makes its network incompatible with the CDMA formats of Alltel and Verizon. T-Mobile USA hasn't yet announced its 4G plans and has only just recently implemented its early 3G network.
Vodafone in Europe has also said it will adopt LTE and gives a chance for both Alltel and Verizon users to roam outside of North America without requiring a special dual-mode cellphone.
The announcement is also a significant blow to Sprint, which has so far said it will depend on the competing WiMAX standard for its Clearwire partnership and its Xohm network in particular. Sprint is primarily counting on support from WiMAX developer Intel as well as major cable providers expanding into wireless Internet access.