Sprint to Launch LTE Network in Mid-2012

The carrier will move to a single-network architecture

Wireless carrier Sprint has just announced plans to move away from WiMAX and fire up a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the middle of the next year.

The mobile phone carrier announced plans to convert its 3G CDMA network to LTE, and says that they are now targeting a much faster transition to the new technology.

Initially, the wireless carrier said that they will make the move to LTE in three to five years, but it seems that they will manage to transition to it much faster than that.

Following the initial launch in mid-2012, the carrier will struggle to fire up LTE in a wide range of markets and to complete the transition to the new technology before the end of 2013.

Basically, the wireless operator will adopt a rapid deployment strategy with the new LTE network, similar with the move that Verizon made with its fourth-generation network.

Big Red fired up its LTE network in December last year in a number of around 30 markets, and has already made the service available in well over 100 of them.

Sprint reportedly made the announcement on its new network roll-out plans on Friday during the Strategy Update meeting.

The carrier will adopt a single network architecture, it seems, and is also set to ensure that there will be enough devices for its customers. Thus, it partnered with Qualcomm for their development.

4G WiMAX devices will still be available for purchase at Sprint through 2012, yet the technology is set to be killed off soon.

Moreover, the wireless services provider confirmed that they will also be moving away from CDMA as soon as the new network is put in place.

The carrier will start consolidating its 4G LTE (including LightSquared), 3G and Direct Connect networks into a single architecture immediately.

The carrier partnered with companies like Samsung, Alcatel Lucent and Ericsson for the move and will deploy multimode 3G and 4G base stations to ensure support for the future network traffic.

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