updated 03:00 pm EDT, Tue March 27, 2012
Sprint says iPhone deal open to 4G quickly
Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer at a Barclays Capital conference speech revealed that his company's iPhone deal would let it carry an LTE model at any given time. He wouldn't be drawn into confirming any timing, but he told Dow Jones and others that the deal was like that for other US carriers and didn't require a certain minimum of LTE coverage. Sprint's LTE will switch on mid-year with just six cities, which some had taken as a sign that Apple might pass on Sprint in favor of the more complete AT&T and Verizon networks.
The finance head implied, though didn't state, that the next iPhone might wait until after the summer as it did in 2011. Such a delay would work in Sprint's favor, he argued, as it would mean that the carrier would be "basically done" with the core areas it needed to cover. It expects to reach 120 cities or more by the end of the year.
"I don't think we are really disadvantaged at all [if that happens]," Euteneuer said.
It's commonly believed that Sprint's decision to upgrade to LTE relatively quickly was prompted by its iPhone deal, announced just days earlier. Apple's aversion to producing iPhone models just for one or two carriers had meant that Sprint faced going without WiMAX support and having to use 3G when at least two carriers would be upgrading to 4G.