Report: Sprint to launch LTE-based network in 2012

Spring is planning to launch its own LTE-based 4G network sometime in early 2012. News.com reports from unnamed sources that the launch could happen sometime at the end of the first quarter or the beginning of the second quarter of 2012. The addition of the LTE network is part of a massive revamp of Sprint's network which is expected to cost the company between $4 billion and $5 billion over the next three to five years. There's no word yet on what US cities will be a part of Sprint's LTE launch. Sprint is scheduled to officially announce these plans at a press event in New York City on October 7.

In 2008, Sprint started to launch its WiMax 4G wireless network in a partnership with Clearwire. However, financial issues at Clearwire have prevented Sprint from expanding the WiMax network extensively. That has allowed Verizon Wireless an opening to launch its own LTE-based network. It first started adding US cities to the network in late 2010 and has now expanded to over half of all the US locations that have Verizon's 3G network. AT&T just started launching its own LTE-based network earlier this month in five US cities.

Sprint is likely to have a very big October in terms of announcements. In addition to the LTE reveal, Sprint is also expected to announce that it will be the third US wireless carrier to sell Apple's iPhone. That should give the company a big boost in customers, especially if it sticks with its unlimited data plan, something which both Verizon and AT&T have dumped for new customers.

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