Sprint Nextel is looking to get its 4G LTE rolled out sooner, rather than later. Sprint plans to launch its 4G LTE service, part of its Network Vision upgrade plan, in 10 markets by the first half of this year. That includes major cities including Dallas (AT&T's headquarters), San Antonio, Houston, and Atlanta. Those cities are expected to be the first to get LTE (Long-Term Evolution), CEO Dan Hesse announced at the Citigroup Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in San Francisco, Sprint said.
The initial rollouts would put Sprint right in the face of AT&T, which it has bitterly fought over the latter's failed bid to acquire T-Mobile USA. AT&T is based in Dallas, and its wireless arm, AT&T Mobility, operates out of Atlanta. Customers, however, may not be able to take advantage of that network. Sprint previously said that 4G LTE devices wouldn't come until the second half of the year. The news comes as AT&T also announced that it has expanded its own LTE network to 11 additional markets, including major cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. Verizon Wireless, however, still holds a considerable lead on LTE coverage.
Sprint plans to finish building its own 4G LTE network by 2013. In the meantime, the company said it would continue to support WiMax devices through this year. Clearwire is working to switch over to its own version of LTE as well. Hesse said that by 2014, he hopes to get Federal Communications Commission approval to use some of its current stock of spectrum for the LTE network, and is looking increase capacity in the next two years. Sprint and LightSquared have a network-sharing deal in which Sprint would host LightSquared's spectrum on its infrastructure in exchange for money and spectrum.
Sprint appears ready to feature the Galaxy Nexus on its own network, if an ad featuring the phone is to be believed. Several blogs noted that Sprint had apparently begun advertising the phone on CNET, just shortly after Sprint chief executive Dan Hesse announced the company's LTE plans that will roll out during the middle of the year. We've reached out to Sprint and will be updating this post as we learn more, but here's what's true should the ad prove legitimate: We're looking at a familiar 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display, Android 4.0, a 1080p movie mode, front and rear cameras, and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. Beyond that, there's the question of Sprint's unlimited stance -- the operator's been holding firm to date, but it'll surely become harder to justify a "truly unlimited" option when its Smartphone base starts flocking to handsets like these.
The Galaxy Nexus could conceivably be one of the devices Sprint announces at CES. While the company doesn't have a press conference scheduled at the event, it is expected to make some announcements on Monday. Such a device would help with AT&T and Verizon Wireless preparing their onslaught of 4G LTE device launches. Verizon Wireless previously said a vast majority of its Smartphone would be 4G LTE, and AT&T has been quickly bulking up its own 4G LTE portfolio after launching the network earlier this year.
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