Sprint was the first carrier in the U.S. to tout “4G’ although disputed by some, Sprint was able to make this claim because of their WiMax network, a joint venture between Sprint and Clearwire for which they own 50%. The ITU eventually rescinded it’s first position and said that WiMax, HSPA+ and 4G/LTE all qualified as 4G.
At the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year Sprint announced that they would be deploying a 4G/LTE network as part of their “Network Vision” program. Network Vision is Sprint’s branding for how they are upgrading their networks for customers.
Sprint offered a keynote at the Rural Carrier’s Association meeting where the slide above was shown. Someone snapped a picture of it and it’s going around the interwebs at a fast pace (4G/LTE pace).
More after the break
The map shows that most of the big metropolitan areas (in green) will be covered by 4G/LTE. However, the rest of the country is covered in pockets of white and blue. Blue shows where Sprint will have roaming agreements, eventually for 4G/LTE.
Verizon Wireless’ 4G/LTE coverage map has a lot more of the country covered. AT&T will also have a great deal more of the country covered as well.
Sprint will turn on their first 4G/LTE towers in the coming months. Phonearena reports that they will only have Kansas City and Baltimore MD online this year however that is incorrect. Sprint announced at CES that they will offer 4G/LTE service in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and San Antonio, in 2012. They later announced that Kansas City and Baltimore would be part of that initial rollout.
The cities that they are launching 4G/LTE in (aside from Kansas City and Baltimore) are the same cities AT&T first rolled 4G/LTE out to. This may be an indication that their earliest markets will be under some kind of cooperative agreement with AT&T.
Sprint was supposed to use Lightsquared as their 4G/LTE partner however after LightSquared was unable to satisfy the FCC in regards to interference, Sprint dissolved their contract with the Northern Virginia based company. It seems that Sprint will be relying on Clearwire to build out a bulk of their 4G/LTE network. If Clearwire is able to sustain itself financially this may be a better path in the end as Clearwire is apparently working on 4G/LTE advanced which is a step ahead of Verizon and AT&T and offers theoretic speeds of 100mbps down.