A research firm is claiming that Sprint is not only transitioning to LTE, but that the process is already well under way. Supposedly codenamed by Sprint "Project Leapfrog," Gerson Lehrman Group says they have knowledge of Sprint's switch and that it will apparently take place over the course of the next three years.

"Sprint has initiated project leapfrog with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Samsung to upgrade its network to LTE," cited the report. "This three year project is designed to leave Sprint with a competitive, nationwide LTE network while reducing operating costs."

Rumors have been swirling for some time now of the nation's third-largest carrier dumping Wimax and shifting to LTE. All the way back in July of 2010, CEO Dan Hesse said "We have the spectrum resources where we could add LTE if we choose to do that, on top of the WiMAX network. The beauty of having a lot of spectrum is we have a lot of flexibility." Recently their tone shifted a bit, saying they are in the process of evaluating the effectiveness of WiMax, adding that they have "a Plan B" if things go south. Then several weeks ago, Steve Elfman, Sprint's president of network operations, boasted that a transition to LTE could be relatively easy, having devices ready by next year, and offering nationwide coverage by 2013. If Gerson Lehrman's report is correct, it appears that the ifs have been taken out of the previous talk and the ball is already rolling.

Source: Gerson Lehrman Group via BGR and Information Week