Sprint unveils next-gen vendors

US cellco Sprint has ended speculation regarding its next-generation network vendors, revealing Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Samsung as its suppliers yesterday.
The company will spend $4 billion (€3 billion) to $5 billion to consolidate its current 2G and 3G wireless networks, add 4G capability and phase out its loss-making Nextel iDEN network by 2015.
Sprint issued the contracts after rejecting lower bids from Huawei and ZTE, following pressure from the US government regarding the security of the Chinese vendor’s equipment.
The operator stated that the three vendors chosen were “best in class” in terms of hardware, software and services.
“Each company realized the network proposal process was highly competitive, and each responded with innovative, cost-effective, solutions,” boss Dan Hesse said.
The vendors will begin to consolidate Sprint’s current 800MHz, 1.9GHz and 2.5GHz networks into single multimode base stations from early 2011, with the job scheduled to take between three and five years to complete.
Sprint runs 2G and 3G CDMA networks, and has been building out a mobile Wimax network. The consolidated network will be designed to run LTE and Wimax, WSJ.com reported.