updated 01:45 pm EDT, Thu March 29, 2012
Sprint says WiMax dropped for LTE now on
Sprint's senior networks VP Bob Azzi delivered a presentation Thursday that declared the effective end of WiMAX on Sprint. The company would no longer launch WiMAX devices, he told FierceWireless and others in attendance. Instead, all the effort would be rolled into the LTE launch in mid-year, which Azzi said was in its last field tests and was working surprisingly well.
"The technology works and delivers more benefits than we expected," he said.
One of the benefits would likely be cost. The Network Vision project, which is consolidating Sprint's voice, 3G, and 4G access into singular sites, is expected to cut in half the prices Sprint pays for both voice and data; LTE's all IP-based nature adds to this by making it cheaper than traditional cellular. Eventually, most if not all carriers are expected to use LTE for both voice and data, minimizing the amount of network types and spectrum they need for good performance.
The hard switch in device types is likely to be borne out quickly, with the expected unveiling of the HTC Evo One next week marking one of Sprint's first LTE smartphones. A total of 15 LTE devices are expected this year, most of which will be Android-based but could include an iPhone.