America’s third largest carrier, Sprint, has announced that it will formally shut down its WiMax services from November 6, 2015. Current crop of Sprint handsets based on WiMax networks will run on the carrier’s 3G HSPA networks beyond November 2015. The carrier has even informed MVNOs to educate customers regarding the change and entertain a possible switch to 4G LTE networks. FreedomPop, which is one of Sprint’s MVNOs is already offering an LTE device swap program where customers can trade in their old WiMax phone in return for an LTE offering.
Reports over the weekend suggested that the carrier would terminate its WiMax services in late 2015, and now we’ve got confirmation coming straight from the horse’s mouth. It was only a matter of time before WiMax received the boot as Sprint has been pushing its 4G LTE networks forward in a bid to compete with the likes of Verizon, AT&T as well as T-Mobile.
Do you use a WiMax device on Sprint? What do you make of this news?
Sprint has announced that it will shut down its WiMAX services in the U.S. by 2015. This will also include all the towers that it currently owns in the region. Sprint’s MVNOs relying on WiMAX networks won’t be able to access the networks once Sprint turns off its entire network. This will mean that over 6,000 towers will no longer be used by the carrier, which will directly impact a lot of users.
To make up for this, the carrier is looking to expand LTE services across the country with its tri-band Sprint Spark service which offers substantially faster speeds compared to conventional 4G LTE.
WiMAX never really caught on once 4G LTE networks made the entry into the U.S. cellular industry, so this move from Sprint surprises no one. Even in terms of LTE coverage, the carrier is far behind the likes of AT&T and VerizonWireless, so the carrier has some catching up to do.
There’s still time for WiMAX to reach its last days though as Sprint plans to bring this plan to fruition by the end of 2015.
As originally tipped here, to the world, by Thedroidguy last summer, Sprint has shifted their 4G WiMax network to their prepaid brands, Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile.
Virgin Mobile USA will introduce 4G speeds to their prepaid customers on May 31st with the introduction of the HTC Evo V 4G.
The new HTC Evo V 4G features include:
Mobile hotspot capability – Connect up to five Wi-Fi devices
5MP camera with video and 3D HD imaging, and 1.3MP front-facing camera
4.3-inch qHD touchscreen
1730mAh battery (up to six hours of talk time)
1GB RAM/4GB ROM
External micro SD memory card slot up to 32GB (8GB card included)
HDMI and Bluetooth-capable
Virgin Mobile USA customers will enjoy 4G speeds at an unbelievable pre-paid price point starting at just $35. They will also be able to harness the power of the HTC Evo V 4G’s mobile hotspot for just $15 per month making the total combination $50. That’s with Sprint’s traditional, and exclusive “unlimited” 4G speeds.
Last year while attending CE Week NY, a smaller version of CES in New York City we spent a lot of time with one of our really good Sprint contacts. We were talking about 4G/LTE which was just a rumor for Sprint at the time, and the impact that it would have on WiMax along with prepaid carriers Virgin and Boost Mobile, both Sprint brands.
If you haven’t heard the HTC Evo 3D is heading over to Virgin Mobile while the HTC Evo Design 4G is heading over to Boost. Both phones are WiMax capable and nothing in any of the stories about these moves suggest that they will only be 3G.
The first piece of the WiMax puzzle is firmly in place. Just today Sprint released the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the LG Viper, both phones will run on Sprint’s 4G/LTE network which as we found out in this story, will be available in June.
When we brought you the story about the HTC Evo Design 4G (days before Engadget by the way) we did say that it would be at the end of the quarter that the HTC phone would hit the Boost Mobile network. If Sprint does in fact hand down the WiMax network to Boost and Virgin, it would most likely be at that time.
If you’re on Boost Mobile or Virgin Mobile you may want to stay put just a couple more months and see how it all plays out. TechnoBuffalo broke this story but, we had it 9 months before.
Sprint CEO was the featured guest on a Mobile Live video interview published yesterday. Hesse was defending Sprint’s strategy on betting so much on the iPhone. Sprint’s guy next door CEO Hesse has come under fire recently by reportedly committing to the purchase of 30 million iPhones.
When asked to comment in his Mobile World Live interview Hesse said that the iPhone is paying off. Four out of every ten iPhone’s sold on the Sprint network are to new customers. Hesse says that the iPhone coupled with unlimited data is a “marriage made in heaven”.
Research company NPD published research on Tuesday in regards to the latest smartphone sales.
According to the latest research, smartphones with 4G connectivity rose to 35% of smartphones sold in Q4 of 2011. This is a huge increase from the 6% in ths same quarter of 2010 when Sprint was the only carrier with 4G.
Until the release of Apple’s iPhone 4s, Android was the only operating system on any 4G network. AT&T considers their version of the iPhone 4s “4G” because it operates on AT&T’s HSPA+ network. AT&T is now in the middle of a nationwide 4G/LTE network.
Back in 2008 as Clearwire was emerging as the new 4G platform, Google invested over half a billion dollars in the Craig McCaw backed start up for 6.5% of the company.
As we’ve seen over the last four years, things at Clearwire didn’t go according to plan. They constantly shuffled executives and couldn’t hit their mark for service roll out. WiMax was also quickly proven to not be as fast, nor efficient as the upcoming 4G/LTE (Long Term Evolution).
Earlier this year Sprint laid out their Network Vision plan to take Sprint’s Now Network into the future. Sprint was the first carrier to roll out something called “4G” with their WiMax service, a joint venture with ClearWire for which the own more than fifty percent.
While WiMax is fast, it appears that as analysts predicted, 4G/LTE has become the standard for 4G. Verizon Wireless has the the biggest 4G/LTE footprint so far, dwarfing AT&T’s LTE rollout which is still under 20 markets.
Sprint shocked many this fall when they announced that they were going to start rolling out 4G Advanced LTE. Originally a deal was announced with LightSquared, a Northern Virginia based start up that is having problems with the FCC and their network interfering with GPS satellites. In the 11th hour it became clear that Sprint would reinvest with Clearwire and partner with them for 4G/LTE. Clearwire has reportedly tested the LTE Advanced and received theoretic download speeds of 100 mbps.
Sprint has made a bold move by announcing that effective November 1, 2011 they are eliminating unlimited 4G data for hotspots, usb sticks and other mobile broadband devices. However they want to make sure that everyone knows right now they aren’t changing anything with unlimited data for smartphones.
The latest device to join the HTC Evo line up at Sprint has been announced. The HTC Evo Design 4G is sleek new Android device, that brings a world phone to the Sprint/HTC Evo line.
The HTC Evo Design 4G features a 1.2ghz processor with a large 4″ qHD touchscreen display. In the camera department we’re looking at a 5 mega pixel rear facing camera and a 1.3 mega pixel front facing camera for video chatting on the go over wifi, 3G or Sprint’s WiMax 4G. The Design 4G also features a sim card slot for global capabilities making it a true “World Phone” the first of it’s kind in the HTC Evo line up.
Samsung and Sprint announced the Samsung Conquer last week. The Conquer is bringing Android to Sprint’s 4G network at just $99 for new customers at Sprint stores. However if you rather spend your device from WalMart you could save all of that $99.
Sprintfeed discovered that Walmart is pre-ordering the new Samsung Conquer for Sprint’s 4G network for free to new customers and $80 on an upgrade. The Samsung Conquer is comparable to the Samsung Exhibit 4G that is available on T-Mobile. The Samsung Conquer 4G features a 1ghz processor, a rear and front facing camera, 3.5″ touchscreen with Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
The Samsung Conquer 4G is also the latest device to feature Sprint’s Sprint ID service. Sprint ID groups themes, wallpapers, apps and widgets into everyday themes revolving around things like MTV, HSN, Business and more.
Clearwire has announced a new device in it’s portfolio of internet devices. The new Clear Spot 4G allows “unlimited” access to Clearwire’s Wimax network in 70 markets across the country. The Clear Spot 4G has the ability to connect up to 8 Wi-Fi enabled devices to Clearwire’s network.
This new hotspot for Clearwire brings improved battery life and enhanced mobile performance. Clearwire was the first US wireless internet provider to bring a wireless hotspot to market in 2009 with the original Clear Spot. Clearwire was founded by cellular industry pioneer Craig McCaw as the first commercially available WiMax provider. Sprint owns nearly half of Clearwire at this point. Sprint uses the same WiMax network for their 4G enabled devices.
Mobile Crunch reported Wednesday that Sprint’s pre-paid brand, Virgin Mobile, was readjusting their rate plans. As mobile aficionado Jordan Crook reported, Virgin Mobile has added $10 to their $300 minute plan, $5.00 to the 1200 minute plan and knocked $5 off their unlimited plan.
Right now Virgin Mobile tops out with 3G and has no current 4G service. The only competitor in the prepaid space offering any kind of 4G is MetroPCS which has built out their own 4G/LTE network. Cricket Wireless is reportedly testing 4G in some areas as well.
Android Central regularly acquires pictures of Sprint employee incentive flyers. These flyers (seen above) more often times than not, leak a device that hasn’t been officially announced for sale. In June we attended a Sprint event in NY where we saw both the Motorola Triumph for Sprint’s prepaid Virgin Mobile brand and the Photon 4G headed to Sprint. Both were said to arrive this summer.