According to a Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) executive who spoke at the MobileBeat conference in San Francisco, Sprint witnessed a change in subscriber behavior after it instituted a 5GB monthly cap on its 3G data plans. That trend is part of the reason the carrier is reluctant about capping data use for its WiMAX service.
Todd Rowley, vice president of 4G at Sprint, said some consumers were worried about using data after the cap was placed several years ago. The company doesn't want that to happen with WiMAX, which Sprint resells from partner Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR).
While Clearwire's customers are downloading an average of 7GB per month, the average Sprint WiMAX user consumes less than that because most are mobile or nomadic rather than fixed users. Clearwire has been marketing its service as more of a replacement for DSL than a mobile service.
However, Sprint has not ruled out data caps on the WiMAX network if data consumption skyrockets. All of Sprint's WiMAX plans include 3G service that is still subject to the 5GB cap, and Sprint has no plans to remove that cap, Rowley said.
Rowley also said that Sprint is still mulling its options when it comes to LTE. Depending on which of its spectrum bands are used, Sprint and Clearwire could deploy either TD-LTE or LTE in the FDD band.
- see this IDG News Service article
Sprint debuts Overdrive, mobile WiMAX hotspot
Sprint announces second WiMAX phone, the Samsung Epic 4G
Sprint's Hesse: Mobile WiMAX ushering in a revolution