Sprint CEO: 1 million LTE phones sold; "We're catching up"

Sprint CEO: 1 million LTE phones sold; "We're catching up"

Summary: As Sprint continues to push into the LTE market as it flicks 4G paint at the U.S. map on the wall, the firm's CEO acknowledges the network is behind others, but is "catching up."

TOPICS: 4G, Mobility, Networking

Sprint has told one million smartphone that support LTE, according to the firm's chief executive. 

The fourth largest mobile network in the U.S. said that around 90 percent of the LTE devices sold were Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC Evo, said Sprint Nextel chief executive Dan Hesse said at the Goldman Sachs conference yesterday.

The figure did not include Apple's new iPhone, which boasts LTE capabilities.

But LTE device sales remain low in comparison to rival networks -- AT&T and Verizon, in particular -- as a result of Sprint's poor LTE network coverage. Sprint was selling LTE-capable devices before it had even switched on the next-generation network.

Hesse noted there is, "a competitive disadvantage in terms of LTE footprint today." He also admitted: "We're catching up, but we are behind."

Who was he talking about? Verizon, of course, which has a near-blanket coverage across the U.S., whereas Sprint only has a spattering. Verizon's coverage remains ahead of most others, while AT&T's coverage expands at a rapid rate, which only this week flipped the switch on Portland, OR and Seattle, WA this week ahead of the iPhone 5's launch.

In answering how Sprint competes with other networks in LTE coverage in light of the iPhone 5 launch, Hesse said:

"...the Galaxy 3 and the Evo So customers are buying LTE devices even though we're just beginning to roll out LTE because they're interested in unlimited and they're signing two-year contracts and they believe LTE is coming. So I'd rather, over that two-year period, get a good deal, get a good service plan, get a good rate plan, beyond unlimited, and LTE will come. That being said, on a temporary basis, there is an advantage that Verizon in particular will have, when it has an advantage in LTE footprint because that's temporary."

In a nutshell: Verizon may be better for LTE now, Sprint may suggest, and AT&T will likely never say but will surely be thinking it, but Sprint is hotfooting its way into the next-generation networking space. And because Sprint's LTE network remains in its infancy, the firm is offering more for its customers than just the super-high speeds that LTE allows. 

LTE is expected to generate $10--11 billion in savings over a seven year period ending 2017 as the network continues to expand its LTE offering nationwide towards the end of 2013.

Topics: 4G, Mobility, Networking

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  • Sprint has crap phone selection. They need to get 4-5 more WP choices

    They made a huge mistake with the massive iphone deal. iphones suck compared to WP.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Why should sprint delude itself with WP

      I was surprised they had 1 phone when i went to get my galaxy..

      Sorry but WP8 is DOA just like WP7 was.. I find the nokia commercials funner now.. because 'the beta test is over' for all that bought into our products HOPEFULLY see you again in 2 years after your contract ends on your wp7 and get our WP9 product.
      Anthony E
    • Sprint is #3.

      >> The fourth largest mobile network in the US

      No, that would be T-Mobile. Sprint is #3.

      Also, their LTE network rocks where I live (Kansas City).
  • Wha?

    By WP I assume you mean Windows Phone 8? iPhone: proven. Android: proven. WP8: unproven. Looks like a clear choice to me. And by the way, I just went to Verizon's site. They have 1 WP phone and it's not version 8. FAIL!
  • Sprint with 4G sorry

    I have been with sprint for more than 10 years.. There 4G at least in san diego is a joke.. I have only received a 4G signal when i was leaving san diego to go on a trip.. Everywhere else from Downtown, East county, & north county 4G is literary non-existant.. They say 4G will be rolled out in San diego by the middle of 2013.
    Anthony E
    • WiMAX

      Sprint's original 4G network was WiMAX, not LTE. It was a failure, though it did get deployed to some 70 cities in the U.S. Where I live there's decent WiMAX, and I've enjoyed using the network. in fact, I enjoy it enough that I'll probably switch to Virgin mobile once my Sprint contract's expired. Doing so will allow me to save money, and since pre-paid phone plans are so much cheaper than regular plans and don't lock you into a 2 year contract. Also, it appear that Sprint has decided to let pre-paid carriers continue to use it's otherwise orphaned WiMAX network (oned by Clearwire, really) so I'll continue to enjoy the decent 4G I get now, just at a much lower price. There's little hope that the WiMAX network will see any further expansion at this point, but who knows... if pre-paid really takes off, and 4G is a hit with Virgin and Boost customers, maybe Clearwire will take a second look at it.
    • Sprint has been lying about 4G in San Diego for years.....No plan at all !

      I bought a 4G phone three years ago with a scheduled roll out two years ago in San Diego. Now there isnt a planned rollout at all. Sprint sells promises that are dropped, and spotty coverage for areas that do have 4G. Thier map of 4G coverage is extremely difficult to use, by design. Drop all the marketing hype, that you cant support, and get the coverage for 4G done. Verizon is king! The others are in a far behind.

    I want the SIII also but will wait until the LTE service is here. Why was there a story of so many cities to be having LTE soon, but no target dates? All I want is to know is the month that my area will get it. Either that last listing was completely Marketing BS or there is no plan at all. DATES DATES.............where are the dates!
  • Dates