Troubled US cellco Sprint Nextel is considering shifting its 4G focus towards Long Term Evolution (LTE) with a view to resurrecting a proposed merger with fellow cellco T-Mobile USA, reports the Financial Times. Dan Hesse, Sprint’s chief executive, told the newspaper that the company was planning to sideline its interest with WiMAX and adopt LTE instead, increasing the feasibility of a merger with T-Mobile USA, which plans to introduce the same LTE technology.
Back in 2008, Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile USA, originally looked at buying Sprint and merging it with T-Mobile USA, but eventually decided against the move. Their reluctance to press ahead with the acquisition was put down to the fact that Sprint, the third largest US mobile operator by subscribers, and T-Mobile USA, the fourth largest, use different 3G wireless technologies. Mr Hesse said that Sprint and current 4G partner Clearwire had sufficient radio spectrum to also deploy LTE. Hesse added: ‘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’.