Good move Sprint! In what could be a long needed win for the US wireless industry, Sprint may be adding to it’s 4G network with LTE support, in addition to the current WiMax deployment. This would effectively put all major US cell carriers on the same LTE upgrade pathway, and ideally should make widespread network buildouts much easier and more robust.
I’d definitely be a fan of seeing Sprint use LTE, especially if it means that overall carrier-wide network performance will improve. Additionaly, it will create a more competitive environment for providers, since consumers will have a much easier time taking their existing phones over to competing networks – much like how it is in the rest of the world these days. Finally, hardware manufacturers will be able to focus their hardware development on one wireless standard, rather than being forced to have different R&D resources for engineering separate hardware for carrier’s different technology.
Update – 2011-03-05 – Russia may be getting with it too: Russian telcos in LTE network sharing deal – paper
Update – 2011-03-07 – China has their own flavor of LTE, but luckily it’s easy enough to build a chipset that supports all LTE flavors – China Mobile says Apple interested in TD-LTE
Time-division LTE (TD-LTE), developed by China Mobile, is a variation on the LTE standard that can offer certain benefits over traditional frequency-division LTE (FD-LTE), including lower cost of deployment and dynamic balancing of upload and download bandwidth. Reports have indicated that the same chip can be used to allow devices to access both traditional LTE and TD-LTE networks.
Although TD-LTE is a homegrown standard from China Mobile, it has started to gain acceptance from other operators around the world who have been trialling the technology as an alternative to FD-LTE.