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Sprint CEO considering LTE for 4G; admits "logic" to a T-Mobile USA merger

News by Michael Oryl on Tuesday July 13, 2010.

sprint · t-mobile · carrier news · michael oryl

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Even though in late 2009 Clearwire's CEO said that his company could shift from its current WiMAX(INFO) 4G network to an LTE(INFO) based network, it is a bit more interesting to hear that Sprint CEO Dan Hesse told the UK's Financial Times that Sprint was actively considering a move towards LTE, and that Sprint and Clearwire (which Sprint's owns a majority of) have enough frequency spectrum to deploy both WiMAX and LTE.

The talk of Sprint switching to an LTE based 4G future gives more credence to the ever circling rumors that T-Mobile USA parent Deutsche Telekom is considering a merger of its #4 T-Mobile USA division with Sprint, which currently is a distant number 3 in the U.S. market. In the past, the differing 3G technologies (CDMA vs. UMTS) made a merger seem unlikely, but if both were to plan ahead for LTE, then the two companies' futures would be a bit more in step.

Regardless of chosen 4G technologies, there are 48 million Sprint customers using CDMA devices and 34 million T-Mobile customers using GSM and UMTS devices. That's a lot of baggage to deal with, and Sprint already failed to combine an existing iDEN infrastructure with its own when it purchased Nextel in 2005, a deal that is now largely considered to have been a failure.

In his talks with Financial Times, Hesse did admit, though, that there was a certain "logic" to a Sprint and T-Mobile USA merger, but declined to discuss any active talks that might be taking place. He told FT "I don't see a need to scale larger, but if there's an acquisition that makes sense for us, I do want to have a balance sheet that would give me the flexibility of making good acquisitions when we see them."


fone insider @ 3:08:21AM EDT on Monday August 23, 2010

can be one of the best things sprint does next to the EVO. just imagine all the free spectrum sprint and has and to let it waste on just wimax. maybe if they get wimax2 it will be niice too but going to lte is even better and having sim cards will be better as well is another thing sprint is lacking.

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Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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