Will Sprint and T-Mobile join forces to complete 4G network?

Will Sprint and T-Mobile join forces to complete 4G network?
According to the WSJ, Sprint could be looking for a partner to help them finish building out their 4G network with Clearwire. The cost to finish the pipeline will run into the billions of dollars and the carrier, which owns 54% of Clearwire, has to make some big decisions. Sprint can decide to fund the balance of the 4G network itself, or it can seek money from a new partner.

The paper is reporting that Sprint's Board of Directors is debating about whether to invite rival carrier T-Mobile to become a partner in the project by investing in Clearwire. Such a move would make partners out of the nation's third and fourth largest carriers. Robert Dotson, T-Mobile's CEO, said earlier this year that he wanted to see what his options were regarding a 4G pipeline and even had discussions with Clearwire. No proposals are pending and some Sprint board members are strongly against the idea of bringing T-Mobile in as a partner.

Sprint has been the first off the blocks in the U.S. with the launch of two 4G enabled handsets, the EVO 4G made by HTC, and the Samsung produced Epic 4G. The latter device was launched Tuesday.

HTC EVO 4G Specifications | Review
Samsung Epic 4G Specifications | Review

source: WSJ



1. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

why do people keep pushing this rumor? its almost as annoying as the verizon iphone rumor but a hell of a lot less likely. First off, Tmobile's HSPA is running at 21mb/s with upgrades comming up to 44 next year. WiMax is only running 12.. so partnering would make them slower. Unless Wimaxx does some serious upgrading past the 44mb/s that Tmobile is planning, there would be no point. Second, they may share the same data network for "4g" but the 3g radios and voice radios would be completely different. You would still have 2 different versions of the same phone across the carriers because they arent compatable. GSM and CDMA. With only a few exeptions most phones do not get to be on both CDMA and GSM carriers because of manufacturing costs, so that would severely limit the handsets. If they did try to fully merge into one network, you would have the sprint/nextell fiasco all over again. 2 barely above water companies trying to merge incompatable technology which would cost billions of dollars neither one of them have... unless they finally convince carriers to make a phone with ALL signals involved CDMA, GSM, HSDPA,HSPA+,GPRS,EDGE,1XRTT,WiMaxx... yea, id love to see the signal handoff quality on that phone.. LOL. ... or just completely shut down one network or the other and force everyone onto the other network. That would cause all sorts of problems, lost money from having to give free phones, lay offs, bandwith issues, plan incompatabilities, on and on.. And concidering Sprint sold the bulk of its towers and is leasing them, It's safe to say it's sprint that will get turned off. So... what was the positive side of the merger again??? OOOOH.. another article to print.. LOL.

3. underwood2012

Posts: 61; Member since: Sep 12, 2009

You're wrong. Sprint has NOT sold it’s towers. They just pay another company to maintain the towers for them. So, please, get your facts straight. And if you don’t believe me, go look on Sprint’s site at the press release. They even state that they still own the towers. Also, if they were to merge, and a network were to get shutdown, it would be T-Mobile’s. Sprint has 5 times the 3G coverage. And if Sprint’s LTE Network launches, it will get 20 - 70 Mbps REAL WORLD (Source: Clear Press Release) So that pretty much leaves T-Mobile and their ‘3.5G’ Network in the dust. Besides, you took this way out of context. No where did it say they would merge. Just invest and share a 4G network (Which I am assuming would be the LTE network they are currently testing in Phoenix. AZ)

4. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

your assumption has no merrit at this time. this article is talking about clearwire's wimaxx. Until Clearwire says for sure that they are switching from wimax to LTE, you should assume they are talking WiMax wich at this point is way slower than Tmobiles HSPA+ While they are talking of upgrading wimax, until they say that speed, assume its slower,not faster. If sprint is just leasing out repair cost, then yea, i agree they would shut down Tmobile since it doesnt have the coverage of sprint and just convert some of the towers to sprint CDMA frequencies. BTW, 20-70 doesnt leave 44 in the dust, in fact i think that puts them right about the same. Can you really tell me you think you can see the difference between 30mb/s and 40mb/s on a mobile device? Heck.. on a regular computer? At that point and higher its all pretty much instant anyways. Difference is, sprint charges extra for 4g wimaxx, Tmobile doestn charge a premium for hspa+ even thought its faster than wimax. and Blits.. its not as easy as you make it sound..like i already stated your not just dealing with lte or wimax and one other signal.. you have to deal with ALL the availble signals on each carrier otherwise you will have coverage problems. LTE and Wimax dont have the coverage of 3g yet. If you make it a wimax/lte only handset your going to have some pissed customers. With so many radios there will be tons of compatability and hand off problems. The easiest solution would be to merge and shut down an entire network... leaving only 3 main carriers left, which reduces competition, which will probably raise prices. I've already pointed out just some of the complexities of that.

5. underwood2012

Posts: 61; Member since: Sep 12, 2009

Anyway you slice it, Sprint/Clear is going to launch a faster network than T-Mobile's 3.5G Tech. Whether it is one of the LTE networks they are testing in Phoenix or a WiMAX2 network (Of course the latter would not launch until late 2011 or so) - they will be faster than T-Mobile, and T-Mobile will need to jump into the 4G game somehow. They can't rely on 3G forever. So I think they might need a deal with Clear/Sprint to keep in the game - even though they probably can't afford to cover their whole network with 3G, so why not start spreading 4G without the 3G to back it up?

6. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

because then they would be like ATT. little pockets of fast network surrounded by Edge. Do you want to pay a premium for service thats only good in very select few locations, or that works pretty much everywhere like VZW who has almost their entire network covered in 3g. It may not be as fast as sprints or tmobiles, but it is the same almost anywhere you go, and thats what people really want.. a service that just works.. and works well. Clearwire has not announced what the wimax2 speeds will be, so you have no idea if it will be faster or not. just because its called "4g" doesnt mean its faster, it just means its 4th generation tech. Tmobile has no intention of relying on 3g forever. They are taking the smart/lower cost route. They will go to LTE when the price of the tech goes down, so they dont have to charge a premium like VZW is going to do. 44/mbs is a pretty damn fast substitute. Clearwire/sprint is running at 12 right now, so they would have to 4x their network to get it faster than that. That's a lot of compression. Is it possible? Sure. But dont bet on something that hasnt been announced. And again, do you really think that on a mobile device you will be able to tell the difference between a 30-40-60-80mb/s connection? I severely doubt you will. 100mb/s sounds awesome... and hell, i want it, but really u wouldnt be able to tell if it was running at 40 or 100mbs because it will be instant regardless. Now, if your using it for home things like a netflix download you might notice a slight difference.. "ooh it downloaded in 5 seconds instead of 7".. but that would probably be about it.

7. underwood2012

Posts: 61; Member since: Sep 12, 2009

I agree with you on the AT&T thing. But Sprint already has all towers that are eligible for 3G upgraded, so they have a service that works, and works well. Just like Verizon's (Although they do not have quite as much coverage as them). So they decided to launch their new network, and like any new network, it wil be spotty for a few years. So that Verizon Coverage thing, not really needed. And I think the smarter route for T-Mobile would be to invest in Clear, because they wouldn't be paying the full price to build a 4G network; They'll have other companies (Sprint, Clear, Comcast, Time Warner, etc.) providing capital to build the network. Even if they waited, say, 3 years to build an LTE network, the price may have went down, but by then Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint (if their LTE tests pan out) will have a 2-3 year head start on them. Plus, splitting the cost 4 or 5 ways is cheaper than doing it yourself (even with the lower prices). Also, I agree, once you get over a certain speed you can't tell the difference on a cellphone. Now aircards, that is a different story. If you are downloading an HD movie, for example, you'd definitely prefer T-Mobile's 21 mbps over Sprint's 12. So the aircard users would be the only real beneficiaries of the higher speeds. Oh, and your Netflix download comment literally made me laugh out loud. Haha. XD

8. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

the same arguement you just made for wimax is easily the same arguement against it. Everyone (including clear eventually) has a LTE rollout roadmap. WiMaxx will more than likely be dead in the water in 3-5 years unless they drastically improve the speeds. Both sprint and clearwire have both said they may move to LTE unless things change. Why would Tmo want to team up for Clearwire when its slower and more than likely not going to be around? Instead, they can wait to build LTE when the network would be cheaper, roll with 44mb/s until then, and then fill in the areas that VZW hasnt with LTE and split off roaming agreements with them. ATT is 2-3 years away from an LTE build out. Sprint will probably eventually get there even though they dont have "any solid plans" at the moment, though its not "ruled out either".. same with Clearwire. Tmobile will be sitting in 2nd place speedwise with a 40% cheaper plan than VZW. If you cant notice the difference between 40 and 80 on a cell phone, why pay 40% more for it? I still dont see the logic between a clearwire based sprint/tmobile partnership. An LTE only based partnership i can wrap my mind around, but a WiMaxx one makes no sence at all. You also dont take into concideration neither Sprint nor Tmobile has a bucket of money to throw around like VZW and ATT does. Though technically Tmobile is a much healthier company than sprint, whos finally recovering but has a heavy limp (and a huge debt ratio). Building a partnership doesnt mean they will have more money to throw around. Why dont we ask sprint to stop spending a billion dollars on nascar.. that might help. LOL.

11. Sellcell

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 16, 2010

Remixfa- Did you grow up under power lines or something? In your first post you said t-mobile was barely above water. Huh thats weird cuz if I remember right they are one of the largest providers across seas. Where exactly do you get your info or do you just like making up bull shit and reading your own posts because it makes you feel good. Also a lot of your numbers don't make sense. Wimaxx is capable to run up to 72mbs, though there are no devices out there allowing you to hit those speeds, but it is capable. And if they ever did want to increase the speeds of Wimaxx past 72mbs, it's as simple as 1,2,3. Wimaxx 2 would consist of 144mbs, cuz it literally only requires them too do an update on the Wimaxx tower. If you knew anything that you were talking about you would know that LTE is capable to run up to 300 mbs and if Wimaxx wanted to it theoretically could hit that as well. The problem is getting devices that can handle those speeds, cuz anything remotely close to 50 mbs can fry the current tech out there right now (this is basically anything that runs internet). So please do your self a favor and read up on things before you go making up false numbers and shit. Not to say all your numbers are wrong, its just your not telling the whole picture.

13. Sellcell

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 16, 2010

2. bitslizer

Posts: 27; Member since: Jul 29, 2010

Any partnership between Clear/Sprint and Tmobile will be for LTE and not WiMAX, LTE will have headroom to grow beyond 100mbps+ (so does WiMax) when UMTS first came out I dobut anyone forsee it can get up to 42mbps. So I see LTE growing beyond 100mbps easily Also in the future, LTE can replace GSM/CDMA completely, and there's no reason why they can't have GSM/LTE and CDMA/LTE phones in the meantime, both company using their own respective voice network while sharing the 4G network

9. DonLouie

Posts: 594; Member since: Dec 22, 2008

remix, the real world speeds of both + and WiMax at this time are pretty similar. Neither is consistently in the teens but people keep touting the theoritical max as if that is what they will always get. Sprint sold 3000 towers 2+ years ago and the next outsourced upkeep so they going under for generating and saving money?

10. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

the real world speeds are not THAT similar don. real world Wimax averages around 6-8mb/s with bursts to 10. Theoretical max of 12. HSPA+ real world tests keep it steady around 12-16 with a theoretical max of 21. From where im sitting, thats doubling the real world effects. Heck, my vibrant gets around 4-5 consistantly on regular Tmobile HSDPA which is just shy of what WiMax is getting.

12. Sellcell

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 16, 2010

This talks about Wimaxx speeds and the difference between LTE vs Wimaxx. Just follow this link. http://gizmodo.com/5168035/giz-explains-why-wimax-and-lte-wireless-4g-data-will-blow-your-mind

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.