Sprint will join AT&T and Verizon Wireless in offering a nationwide LTE network early in 2012, according to a new report.
The famous people familiar with the situation” say equipment is being installed and the network is being tested in certain areas. It will go live with commercial service around March or April, according to CNET. No word yet how many cities will be involved in the launch.
Up until Verizon Wireless launched its 4G LTE network in 2010, Sprint was able to boast the fastest broadband speeds due to its partnership with Clearwire on a 4G WiMAX network. But now that AT&T also has moved to LTE, Sprint finds itself lagging behind and likely feels the pressure to keep up with its big sisters. The carrier previously said it would have a 4G announcement to make on Oct. 7, so this is likely it.
Sprint is widely expected to become Apples third U.S. partner for the iPhone when the computer giant announces the iPhone 5 next week. That should be another important piece to staying competitive in the wireless game.
Sprint also hopes its unlimited data plans will make it an attractive alternative to AT&T and Verizon Wireless. At GigaOms Mobilize conference this week, CTO Stephen Bye re-confirmed the carriers commitment to these types of plans. Verizon and AT&T recently capped their unlimited” plans at 2GB. Sprint has been hitting the television airwaves hard with this message lately.
A report earlier this month speculated that Sprint would offer its unlimited data plan for the iPhone 5, if indeed it gets the device next month.