Sprint is gearing up to release their first 4G LTE device as soon as next month, so it’s no surprise to find out today that the carrier is done releasing new 4G WiMAX devices. Sue Marek of Fierce Wireless reports that Bob Azzi, SVP of networks at Sprint, said “While the company experienced success with its WiMAX handsets, including the HTC Evo, Sprint will not launch any additional WiMAX devices.”
The upgrade to 4G LTE is part of Sprint’s multi-billion overall network strategy, also known as Network Vision. Sprint plans to finish building it’s LTE network by the end of 2013, but we think the buildout could even be extended til 2014.
“Within the first half of 2012, Sprint customers should experience first-hand the wide-reaching improvements we have made in terms of boosting voice and data quality,” said Bob Azzi, Sprint. “With advanced smartphones and sophisticated wireless modems, our customers are using more and more mobile data, and one of our top priorities is to provide the best technology possible to improve our customers’ experience.”
We don’t have an exact launch date, but Sprint already announced the first major markets to receive LTE coverage. Sometime during the first half of 2012, Sprint customers will see 4G LTE and improved 3G coverage in:
- San Antonio
Coverage will then expand to 10 markets by the end of June, but specific cities have not been named.
Today tech reporter Sascha Segan tweeted a picture of Sprint’s LTE coverage map for 2014. Areas in green represent LTE coverage while areas in blue will be covered by roaming agreements with other carriers.
Looking forward, the upcoming 4G LTE devices coming to Sprint that we know about include:
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus: Rumored for April 15
- HTC EVO One: Rumored for June 10
- LG Viper 4G LTE: Rumored for Q2
At this point most Sprint customers are kind of stuck in the middle. The best Android phones on Sprint are all WiMAX, but that will slowly be phased out this year. New subscribers will be encouraged to get a phone with LTE, but Sprint’s coverage will be sparse until next year.
If you are in the market for a new Sprint phone, let us know what you plan to do.