LAS VEGAS--Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse said his company's bet on Clearwire and mobile WiMAX over LTE was necessary, and that the technology will help spark a revolution in the wireless industry.
Hesse took part in a chat with CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent during a keynote session here at the CTIA Wireless 2010 conference. The Sprint chief spoke a day after he unveiled the company's first WiMAX phone, the HTC Evo 4G.
Sprint chose WiMAX because of its time-to-market advantage, and because it could take advantage of the company's solid spectrum position. "We could either do 4G now with WIMAX or we could wait with other technologies that are coming," he said. "LTE will most likely be the larger of the 4G standards, but for us, we couldn't wait." Hesse also noted the financial support of Clearwire investors such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Intel and Google.
The advent of WiMAX and LTE will lead to a change in how wireless service plans are viewed, Hesse said. Voice minutes and text messages will become less important than how much data customers use, he said. Hesse said that two years from now the "distinction will be how many gigabytes are in your bucket. That will be what determines the various market segments and tiers in our industry."
His comments are notable in light of recent hints from Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility of a possible introduction of usage-based pricing for LTE services.
Mobile WiMAX will also change the design and use of mobile devices, Hesse said. "Because the pipe is so much faster, you're going to see much faster processors," he said. The devices will also have larger screens to take advantage of higher speeds to deliver high-definition video. He also said the capabilities of devices like the Evo and the Overdrive, which can produce a WiFi hotspot for other devices, will change the way people think of mobile devices.
Additionally, Hesse said that 4G technologies will also impact vertical industries, including the healthcare industry. He said 3G technologies are filtering into the healthcare industry, and that trend will accelerate with 4G. "The number of medical applications coming on board are staggering," he said.
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