Sprint’s upgrade to LTE may mean end of unlimited data

Sprint, one of the major US carriers, has used its unlimited data plan for years as a way to differentiate itself from other large US carriers. Unfortunately, this plan now enters a new stage where it is not known if it will survive.

The problems of Sprint do not end here however. Sprint has committed itself to switching from WiMax to LTE for 4G connectivity, essentially shooting itself in the foot more than just once. One reason is that Sprint is the largest stockholder of Clearwire, the parent company of the WiMax service being replaced by LTE. Sprint has said that it will still offer phones using WiMax 4G through the end of 2012.The main problem is that once the carrier has built out its LTE pipeline, it might have to stop offering the unlimited pricing plans.

The carrier has spent $7 billion to build its LTE network, using unused 1900MHz spectrum. And if the company can get regulatory approval, it will use spectrum in the 800MHz range for LTE service as well, by early 2014. That spectrum is currently used by Sprint for its IDEN network which is being phased out by 2013. According to Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, the carrier will start an “aggressive rollout” of LTE with the first devices for it launching in the middle of next year. The problem is that Sprint has committed only 10MHz of spectrum to LTE while Verizon and AT&T are working with twice that amount of spectrum for their respective LTE build-out. As a result, should LTE become popular among the carrier’s customers, Sprint might find itself with a 4G pipeline offering its customers slower browsing speeds and putting a huge strain on the network.

Sprint

If this happens, the more popular LTE becomes at Sprint, the slower the service might become. Tolaga Research analyst Phil Marshall says that the carrier’s version of LTE is “bare-bones” and without the spectrum to expand, speeds will have to come down as the number of users go up. Marshall says that in this situation, Sprint will have to stop offering unlimited service plans. “Unlimited is going to kill them, I think they’re going to have to back off from the all-you-can-eat plan,” says the analyst.

Still there are some options – Sprint may have a selling tool by offering higher caps than the competition. Another option would be throttling data speeds or adding extra charges for going over the data cap – something that competition has been doing for a long time.

Source: PhoneArena

Related posts

Sony HXR-MC50E professional camcorder

Sony Professional has today announced a new entry-level professional camcorder, the HXR-MC50E, which is designed to combine the simplicity and usability of a traditional consumer camcorder with the look and feel of a professional model. Designed for video producers looking to benefit from the...

Bowers & Wilkins prepares sleek new headphones

Perhaps many people haven’t heard of the British company Bowers & Wilkins but the company is known for making very high quality headphones. Its on-ear P5 and in-ear C5 headphones have earned high marks from various reviewers and riding high on their success Bowers & Wilkins is currently...

Eizo introduces FlexScan S2432W-H LCD monitor with DisplayPort

EIZO introduces the new FlexScan S2432W-H LCD monitor that comes with a DisplayPort interface. The 24-inch FlexScan S2432W-H features a 1920×1200 HD resolution, 1000:1 contrast ratio, 360cd/m2 brightness, 16ms response time and a 178-degree viewing angle. EIZO’s FlexScan S2432W-H can display...

Leave a comment