It’s the end of an era for Sprint. As of Thursday, the company is forging ahead with LTE and leaving WiMAX behind. According to Bob Azzi, senior vice president of networks at Sprint, who spoke at the Competitive Carriers Global Expo, the company will no longer be introducing new WiMAX devices to Sprint subscribers.
While WiMAX was a successful venture for Sprint, the company is planning to wrap it up and focus on its Network Vision project, which is deploying multimodal equipment including LTE.
Sprint is planning to launch its 4G LTE network by mid-2012, which will finally put it on par with AT&T and Verizon, who already have LTE networks in place. “We are wrapping up final field integration tests,” said Azzi. “The technology works and delivers more benefits than we expected.”
At least 15 LTE-enabled devices will be released by Sprint throughout the year, including smartphones, tablets, and data cards. Sprint will use the G-Block of its 1900MHz spectrum, and repurpose its 800Mhz spectrum for LTE as well.
Sprint will have 12,000 cell cites equipped with LTE by the end of 2012, and its Network Vision program will be nearing completion by 2013.
There’s no word on whether an iPad will be included, or whether the upcoming iPhone will be available in 4G on the network, but it sounds like there’s a strong possibility that the carrier may have its LTE support ready in time, which is great news for those of you iPhone users on Sprint.