Sprint is reportedly testing Long Term Evolution equipment in what may be a hedge in case Wimax doesn't quite work out.
GigaOm's Stacey Higginbotham reports that Sprint is testing LTE gear even though it has a big stake in Clearwire. The official Sprint response was that the company is committed to Wimax, but assessing the competitive landscape.
Higginbotham notes that Sprint has some tough choices without its own 4G network. Even Clearwire says LTE may be an option later.
Also see: Verizon Wireless: 4G LTE trials showing 50 to 60 Mbps download rates
The big question here is whether Sprint is hedging its Wimax bet or its Clearwire bet. Given Clearwire's plan to expand aggressively and burn through a lot of cash in 2009 it would only make sense for Sprint to at least ponder the "what if" scenarios. In addition, Clearwire is on Moody's Bottom Rung default risk report for March.
Perhaps Clearwire, which has a new CEO, becomes the next wireless juggernaut. A case can also be made that Clearwire could flame out. No matter how you slice it Sprint's exploration of LTE is just prudent business management.