Sprint's 4G chief stands behind WiMAX despite LTE rumblings

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) is sticking to its guns and backing WiMAX as its 4G technology of choice, even though WiMAX operator Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) will begin testing LTE this fall.

Matt Carter, Sprint's president of 4G, said the company's 4G priorities have not changed. "Our position is that we are singularly focused around WiMAX, and there's no wavering on that view from us," Carter said in an interview with Computerworld. "Does the amount of wireless spectrum [Sprint has available] give us the opportunity in some time to convert to LTE or run LTE alongside WiMAX? Yes. We built the 4G network in a manner to give us that flexibility. But we don't want to confuse the market and our ecosystem of suppliers and customers. We are deploying WiMAX."

Carter's show of support for WiMAX comes shortly after Clearwire made waves in the wireless world by announcing it plans to conduct both FDD and TDD LTE testing in collaboration with Chinese vendor Huawei throughout the fall and into the early part of next year in Phoenix. At the same time, Clearwire is still moving ahead with plans to cover 80 markets and 120 million POPs with its mobile WiMAX network by year-end.

Sprint, which holds a majority stake in Clearwire and also is a wholesale partner of the company, has been pushing WiMAX under the Sprint 4G brand this year. The company just announced the availability of its second 3G/4G smartphone, the Samsung Epic.

Complicating matters further, Sprint is in the early stages of a multi-mode network technology RFP, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said recently, an effort that might include LTE--but he said no decisions have been made. "We haven't reached any conclusions," Hesse said in a recent interview with FierceWireless. "It gives us the flexibility, so that we can change or add new capabilities if we so choose."

For more:
- see this Computerworld article

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