Last year saw a number of exciting pieces of news come out of Sprint, but two of the biggest may have been the carrier's move to LTE and the arrival of the iPhone on its network. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse recently sat down for an interview with Mobile World Live and discussed those two topics. On the LTE front, Hesse reiterated that Sprint has announced six markets that'll be a part of the launch of its LTE network, which is expected to go live by the middle of this year. The topic of AT&T and Verizon's LTE rollouts was then brought up, and Hesse said that he feels that Sprint will be able to catch up to them "pretty quickly." He added that Sprint intends to be "substantially complete" with its national LTE rollout by the end of 2013.
The talk later shifted to Apple's iPhone, which finally made its way to Sprint late last year. Dan Hesse said that sales of the iPhone has exceeded Sprint's expectations, explaining that 4 out of every 10 iPhones sold went to new customers, a number that the exec said is "roughly double" that of Sprint's competitors. Those iPhone users consume less data than someone on with a high-end 4G Android handset, Hesse said, adding that iPhone owners are "more profitable than the average smartphone customer" because iPhone owners have a lower rate of churn. Hesse also touched on Sprint's unlimited data plans, which he says are part of what makes Sprint's iPhone attractive to customers, saying that Sprint plans to offer unlimited data "for as long as we possibly can, hopefully forever."
Sprint has said a couple of times in the past that it plans to flip the switch on its LTE network by the middle of 2012, but it's good to hear that the carrier's plans are still on track. What's interesting is hearing Dan Hesse talk about how Sprint draws more new customers than AT&T and Verizon, something that's likely thanks at least in part to Sprint's unlimited data plans, and iPhone-toting folk are more profitable than the average smartphone user. And for all of Sprint's smartphone customers, iPhone and not, Hesse's pledge that unlimited data will be kept alive for as long as possible is good to hear. Want to hear all of this straight from the CEO's mouth? Hit up the Mobile World Live link below.