Sprint Strategy Update event coming October 7th: will it bring 4G LTE news, tiered data or an iPhone?
Sprint is the carrier which needs a strategy update the most and the carrier which needs a strategy update the least. Let us explain - the third-largest US carrier currently offers a WiMAX 4G network and in the light of its recently signed 15-year deal with LTE wannabe provider LightSquared, a change seems imminent and needed. At the same time, Sprint is the only carrier offering unlimited data and from a user’s standpoint, that strategy needs update the least. But an update is coming - the carrier has issued invitations for Sprint’s strategy update event on October 7th.
While we don’t know whether the carrier plans to pop the champagne for a Sprint-bound iPhone, as some reports have previously suggested, or just unveil more details for the transition to LTE as its main 4G technology, let us explore all the options and weigh the possibilities.
First comes the possibility of Sprint giving new light on how exactly it will switch to long-term evolution (LTE) wireless broadband. The carrier is currently using ClearWire’s services for WiMAX and ClearWire has clearly stated its intention to move to LTE. In order to do that, though, the wireless provider needs funding, a lot of funding, which by all assumptions needs to come mostly from Sprint. Will the carrier be willing to continue pouring down cash in ClearWire in the future? The recent 15-year deal with LightSquared questions that, as it seems that two LTE networks are just too much for a single carrier. To complicate matters more, under the deal, Sprint may buy up to 50% of LightSquared’s 4G capacity, if it adopts L-band LTE as part of its services.
Second comes the sad possibility of the carrier slashing unlimited data. Sprint is the only one of the four major carriers still offering all you can eat data, but its pre-paid arm, Virgin Mobile, has recently announced a move away to tiered plans. Adding speculative fuel to the fire, in the last couple of days, a lot of Sprint users have seen their data counters reset and no longer showing unlimited minutes (not data). Unlimited was replaced with a huge number, in the millions, but while this doesn’t necessarily signal no more unlimited plans, it does vaguely hint at such a possibility.
Third, comes the juiciest part - a Sprint-bound iPhone 5. The Wall Street Journal reported about it, and there are a couple of events leading us to think that it’s possible. First of all, the dates fit - the next-gen iPhone is expected to hit shelves mid-October, a mere week after the Strategy Update event. Second of all, the Now Network is hiking its early termination fee to $350, up from $200. This coincides with the upcoming launch of the Galaxy S II in early September, but it could also make up for the huge subsidy which an eventual Sprint iPhone 5 could carry. Some of our users have also mentioned that their early upgrade dates have been moved a couple of months ago to October, all pointing at a possible grand Apple-esque conspiracy.
We wouldn’t put our bets on the latter, though, and whatever it is, we’ll only know after more than a month on October 7th. But looking at all the possibilities, which one seems most possible to you?