Sprint may add LTE to 4G arsenal

Sprint Nextel (NASDAQ:S) is looking at LTE as a possible alternative 4G technology to mobile WiMAX.  In an interview with the Financial Times, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that the operator (along with its WiMAX network partner Clearwire) is considering deploying LTE technology on top of the existing WiMAX network. Sprint is the largest shareholder in Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), which is in the process of deploying a nationwide mobile WiMAX network.

Hesse also acknowledged that should Sprint deploy LTE and T-Mobile USA deploy LTE it may pave the way to a possible merger between the two firms. He said that there was a "logic" to a merger between the two if they were using the same 4G technology but he declined to comment on any specific deal activity.

In 2008, Deutsche Telekom considered purchasing Sprint and merging it with T-Mobile USA but decided against the move because Sprint and T-Mobile used different 3G technologies. However, Deutsche Telekom's CEO recently said that he did believe that any multi-billion euro deals were likely to occur this year.

In late May Sprint indicated it has issued an RFP for its next-generation technology plans and said LTE could be one option. At the LTE World Summit in Amsterdam Kevin Packingham, senior vice president of product and technology development with Sprint, said the company was evaluating various technologies to advance its CDMA network.  In addition, last week the Financial Times reported that Huawei may be bidding on a wireless contract with Sprint that would be for the expansion of Sprint's mobile broadband network.

For more:
- see this Financial Times article

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