Despite the fact that Sprint has been rapidly expanding 4G technology on its network, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse appears to be quite receptive to switching to LTE technology -- an older technology, based upon a revised 3G standard.
Back in March, Sprint announced that it would be expanding 4G to at least eight additional cities -- those cities include Cincinnati, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Miami, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, and St. Louis. The addition of LTE technology to Sprint's network would clear the path for a merger with T-Mobile. The fact that both Sprint and T-Mobile are losing customers to Verizon and AT&T means that a merger could be beneficial to both carriers.
According to Gizmodo via Financial Times, Sprint and T-Mobile have been considering a merger for a while now. In his statement to the Financial Times, Hesse stated "We have the spectrum resources where we could add LTE if we choose to do that, on top of the WiMAX network. The beauty of having a lot of spectrum is we have a lot of flexibility...” Sprint's network flexibility is further proven by the fact that they are seeking additional network infrastructure in order to implement both WiMax and LTE.
The only issue for Sprint would be that they would have to make the decision to keep both LTE and WiMax, or choose to abandon one of them. It will be quite some time before 4G is common enough to justify a merger based on these terms. However, based on Mr. Hesse’s comments, it does appear that the executives at Sprint are giving it some serious thought.