updated 07:40 pm EST, Tue December 7, 2010
Sprint CEO shy on iPhone at event
Sprint leader Dan Hesse during his interview at D: Dive Into Mobile admitted that he would like the iPhone. He maintained an unusually elusive stance on whether or not there were any plans on Tuesday, saying that he "can't say" if there were plans. However, a follow-up question revealed that he liked the idea and was complimentary to Apple.
"Under the right conditions, yes, I would [like the iPhone]," he said. "It's a wonderful phone."
Most expect Verizon to be the main target of any CDMA iPhone, but there would be no technical limitation. One unverified analyst claim has hinted that Verizon might try to deny Sprint and T-Mobile their own deals by paying for a semi-exclusive.
Hesse added that the decision to jump to WiMAX early, rather than wait for LTE, may have been prompted by the iPhone. The CEO refrained from explicitly stating the reasons but implied that the leap was made both to be first with 4G but also to counter Apple's early success with the iPhone and give users a reason to choose Sprint instead. "We thought [WiMAX] was ready now," he said.
The strategy has been successful for Sprint in the short term, as phones like the HTC Evo 4G and Samsung Epic 4G were hot enough to reverse years of decline. Apple has sent signals lately that it's unhappy with Android getting safe havens in the US and has been rumored to negotiate CDMA deals partly to dampen Google's impact.