Sprint details first LTE launch cities, expansion plans


Source: GigaOm
Coverage Type: reporting
Location:
Sprint Nextel, 6550 Sprint Parkway, Overland Park, KS, 66251, United States

Sprint will launch LTE in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and six other smaller markets by mid-2011, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said.

He also went into a little more detail about how Sprint planned to grow its initial low-bandwidth LTE network into a big fat network the size of Verizon’s. Sprint will start out with a 5 MHz-by-5 MHz carrier in the PCS band, which will give it half the capacity of Verizon’s networks and most of AT&T’s networks (AT&T runs 5×5 MHz networks in some cities like Chicago). But Hesse said Sprint plans to re-farm spectrum in the 800 MHz band for LTE once it begins shutting down its outdated Nextel iDEN systems in 2013. That will double the overall capacity available, plus with new LTE-Advanced technologies, Sprint can bond those carriers together creating a single high-bandwidth channel. But Sprint’s long-term future is tied to Clear Channel which has spectrum in spades, particularly in the large markets. If Clearwire can get its LTE network built, it will be able to provide Sprint with gobs of bandwidth where it needs it most, the major metro markets.

Sprint put its investment in a partnership with LightSquared on hold as the wireless venture seeks an operating license from the Federal Communications Commission. “The companies have agreed to realigning our deployment timeline to coincide with potential FCC actions,” said Sprint spokesman Scott Sloat. Until approval is received, “both companies believe it is prudent to pull back on expenses,” he said. Sprint has agreed to network construction for LightSquared in exchange for advanced payments. Through the third quarter, Sprint received about $290 million from LightSquared, Sloat said.

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