Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said he had a big surprise for us late this year, and the big surprise isn’t a Sprint iPhone next week (we kind of new that was coming), but that the Now Network is going 4G/LTE.
Sprint currently uses a 4G tech called WiMax that doesn’t deliver the speed or consistency in many markets that Verizon is achieving with its 4G/LTE (Long Term Evolution) network.
CNET reports today that Sprint will launch its own 4G LTE network in 2012 and that it’s already installing LTE equipment and has been field testing the network.
CNET reports that adding 4G LTE would “give (Sprint) a network on par with Verizon’s, supplying the nation’s third-largest carrier with an additional selling point beyond attractive pricing plans and an unlimited data offering.”
It will also think folks who are out of contract and thinking of getting a new iPhone to seriously consider which carrier they want to choose.
Sprint’s new network will be created, in part, by shutting down its old Nextel network, which featured a walkie-talkie type feature. The 2G technology behind it is called iDEN and Sprint expects to shut it down by 2013.
Another big item here for Sprint is its plan to convert its entire 3G network to LTE via something it’s calling Network Vision. It’s a complicated $5 billion operation that could result in the nation’s best wireless network. Stay tuned.