Dan Hesse: Sprint to make major 4G announcement this fall, no immediate plans for tiered dataAlex Wagner - Senior News Editor
Sprint has said in the past that it's considered making the switch from WiMAX to LTE for its 4G technology of choice, and it looks like we may finally see the No. 3 carrier actually go through with such a change later this year. Speaking to some reporters at Sprint's headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., CEO Dan Hesse said that he's aware that the company's WiMAX expansion has become a bit slow as of late, but he also confirmed that Sprint has big plans for the future and that we should expect a major 4G announcement from the carrier this fall.
Moving on to mobile data, Dan Hesse responded to inquiries about whether or not Sprint plans to follow in the footsteps of its prepaid compatriot Virgin Mobile by moving from unlimited to tiered or throttled offerings. Hesse explained that Sprint's straight-up unlimited plans are attractive to consumers because they're so simple. He also said that Virgin's switch to throttled data plans are not an indication that Sprint may be considering to implement similar plans. However, when asked whether or not he thought that Sprint would eventually be forced to move to drop unlimited data due to hordes of heavy users on its network, Hesse replied that "nothing is guaranteed forever."
Unsurprisingly, Hesse also touched on AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile a bit, saying that he's been doing all he can to ensure that the FCC and Department of Justice make "the right decision" about the deal. The Sprint CEO has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the merger since it was announced back in March. Hesse today said that, if the AT&T-Mobile deal is approved, “It will be the end of the wireless industry as we know it." The exec also talked 4G and how it relates to AT&T-Mobile, saying, “I hope you like 4G, because it could be the last generation of wireless network in the U.S."
Although Dan Hesse didn't elaborate on his statement about Sprint's fall 4G announcement, many have speculated that the carrier is planning to detail a switch to an LTE network. Around a month ago, we reported on a rumored deal between Sprint and LightSquared will see Sprint cover some of LightSquared's network and equipment costs in exchange for access to its LTE network. When you consider that report along with the fact that even Clearwire, Sprint's partner in WiMAX, is considering moving to LTE, it definitely seems like a 4G technology switch could be in the cards for Sprint.