Sprint Nextel is not the first player that comes to my mind when we discuss the race to 4G in the U.S. (be it the mobile WiMAX or LTE variety). Instead of building its own WiMAX network, Sprint, which is a major investor in Clearwire (the company owns 51.1 percent of Clearwire), is a wholesale partner and will use Clearwire's mobile WiMAX network to deliver 4G services to its customers. Sprint has launched WiMAX service in several markets and plans to have 120 million POPs in 80 markets in the U.S. by the end of 2010..
In a 4G world, is it important to distinguish between a network operator and a wholesaler? Perhaps because of my history in covering traditional wireless carrier MVNOs and resellers (such as Virgin Mobile USA, Amp'd Mobile, Helio and others), I think it is. However, Sprint and others argue that I shouldn't be making that comparison because Sprint has its own devices, price plans and relationship with the customer.
If you'd like to hear more about Sprint's 4G agenda, tune in to tomorrow's keynote address during our second annual "The Path to 4G: A Reality Check" virtual conference. Teresa Kellett, director of 4G for Sprint, will be discussing the company's 4G plans and more. To view the entire agenda and register (attendance is free!), click here. --Sue