Sprint’s Future 4G: LTE & WiMAX


on June 27, 2011   |   6 comments

I have called Sprint the king of 4G for many reasons. They make tomorrow look good for us all. Now I am going to reveal how easy it will be for Sprint to enter the LTE space and how they can change technology mid stream.  Beceem is now shipping their BCS500 chips which are Wimax and LTE, along with about six or more radios, including CDMA, EV-DO, WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS. These chips will hand off seamlessly between Wimax and LTE.

This is the easiest and most logical path for Sprint to take toward the LTE path. It is much easier to start seeding the device market with devices embedded with this BCS500 chip than any other solution they might have. Once they have the device side in check, deploying LTE is a snap.

This is also where 4G is supposed to be taking us. With this chip, consumers will start to get more choices. As these chips will be embedded in all the carrier devices, consumers will be able to buy a device, and go with what ever carrier they choose including Sprint, AT&T and Verizon–the companies that offer LTE. Of course Sprint needs this more than any other carrier, because they have more wireless technology than all the carriers combined. Sprint will have two 4G technologies, and they need this more than any other carrier to move forward and compete.

And this is why I think we will be hearing from Sprint very soon on their 4G plans. They sometimes don’t like to reveal to much, but the carriers know what is happening with devices. This should also change the direction of Clear, as they are the largest wholesaler for Sprint, and they need to have their devices embedded with this BCS500 chip as well to stay competitive. So a win win scenario is in the making, and Sprint again comes out the winner. I have often said Sprint is the driving force behind 4G, and they are certainly in the drivers seat.

Sprint really just needs to let technology catch up to their way of thinking. This could not be any better news for Sprint, or Clear. However this is not good news for the other carriers as this will put Sprint in the lead with 4GX2 space and 6X the spectrum. No matter what the press thinks, Sprint has this 4G thing on the right road. And the winners will be you: the consumer.

Remember that 4G is not just about speed, it’s about new ways of thinking and concepts that are still being developed to take us in new directions. Most of all, 4G is about giving us choices as to how we choose to use this technology, and to take the monopoly out of the game.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael, San Diego, CA June 29, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Kobe, you are right on the ball.

On another note, Sprint’s negative publicity from the likes of Craig Moffet have more to do with their self interests in the competition. For AT&T and Verizon to grow in a zero sum game they would have to poach Sprint’s subscribers, which will be difficult to do without a game changing Exclusivity. Since the market launched Android based smartphones Apple’s iPhone has been relatively contained while Google’s Android based phones proliferate. Nevertheless, the iPhone appears to be heading to Sprint this fall if we are to believe some credible rumors, which should further level the last remaining competitive hurdles.

As I have said before, with the current innovation in technology, Sprint multimodal strategy could very well give it an advantage over its two main rivals, AT&T and VZ, if we are to believe the finite aspects of spectrum and the geometic growth in demand for data. We all know that Wimax (802.16e) is only a prelude to Wimax 2 (802.16m) which is backwardly compatible with its legacy platform. Wimax 2 will also blow the boots off anything the competition has to offer when it is launched in 2012, especially when one considers the 150+ Mhz of capacity available for deployment in the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the US.

As AT&T has manifested, speed without capacity is a major liability. This is an area where Sprint should be able to shine in the foreseeable future.

Kobe Wadsworth June 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Thank you for that Michael
I figure if these two technologies merge , or co-exist, that it would be LTE, and wimax 2 that they were able to marry the two. I think wimax 2 was to little to late, the wimax forum drug their feet, and let LTE gain to much momentum, or traction, before they could ratify, and put the profile to ink. All this new technology that Sprint is going to run with, can be changed on the fly.

So if they start with LTE, they still have markets via Clear, wimax, and these chips will hand off to LTE, wimax 802-16e as well as 802-16m, So really they clearly have the upper hand here. The cards are stacked in their favor, and have been, since they brought Clear in their game. Only now, today, it is starting to manifest as a full blown game of 4G at it’s best. It really starts getting good right about now. And back to those chips. I do think they are being embedded today in devices. Their is simply no good reason why they wouldn’t be.

Kobe Wadsworth May 9, 2012 at 10:56 pm

I wrote this article right about one year ago, and today this article from Gigaom http://gigaom.com/mobile/sprint-packs-wimax-and-lte-into-latest-hotspot/

This was before Sprint’s press conference about going with LTE for their future technology.
Seeding the device market before the deployment of their LTE was the only logical path to go.

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