It's only been a couple years since the EVO launched as not only the first WiMax phone, but the first "4G" phone (by carrier reckoning). Now, though, Sprint says that not only will there be no more WiMax phones, which we knew earlier, but no more WiMax devices at all. That means hotspots and tablets will also lack any WiMax antennae. Don't worry, though. Sprint has promised 15 LTE devices by year's end.
Sprint's LTE plans have been no secret, although not without a fair amount of bumps in the road. Still, Sprint insists that its LTE plans are on schedule. So far, no LTE markets have been lit up, but Sprint should be activating our favorite network acronym in a few cities by mid-2012. "Mid-2012", by an unsurprising coincidence, is also around the time that the so-called EVO One is rumored to land. An early June release date for an EVO sequel would follow the pattern, and June is just about as mid as 2012 can get. If the information we've heard is true, and Sprint's variant of the HTC One X does, in fact, carry LTE, Sprint users' long wait to taste those high-bandwidth waters may finally be over in a few short months.
The most interesting tidbit, though, is what Sprint's Senior Vice President of Networks, Bob Azzi, had to say about how this new LTE network would affect Sprint's bottom line. Azzi said that Sprint's new network plans would result in a 50 percent reduction in cost per gigabyte to deliver data, and also a 50 percent reduction in cost per minute to deliver voice.
This is great news for Sprint, which hasn't exactly been swimming in cash lately. However, it does raise the question, if Sprint is able to cut delivery costs by 50% with a new CDMA-LTE network, why are other carriers so insistent that data costs for their fancy new networks are rising, not falling? Perhaps the number of customers gobbling up data is growing at a much faster rate (which is almost certainly true), or maybe Sprint has some kind of deal with other LTE carriers that reduce its costs.
Azzi also notes that Sprint's Network Vision plan "will be nearly complete" by 2013. It's unclear just what this plan entails, or how much of the country it plans on covering in LTE. In fact, given the recent upheavals with Sprint's partners, we'd be surprised if even Sprint knows for sure. Still, good to see that the failed Lightsquared deal hasn't set Sprint too far back. Or so it seems.
Source: Fierce Wireless