While plenty of carriers have re-branded their tweaked 3G services as 4G, it looks like the long-term push (no pun intended) is going to be for LTE, paving the way for LTE Advanced and proper 4G speeds. Verizon’s on-board, AT&T is planning to switch, and now Sprint is talking about losing WiMAX and joining the LTE in-crowd as well.
Sprint’s Steve Elfman told investors that a move to LTE is something the company is considering, though it’s too early now for it to make up its mind. The question will be resolved sometime in mid-2011, once Sprint decides what its future with WiMAX will be. If it decides to go LTE, Elfman forecasted that Sprint could have its first LTE phones up and running by next year, putting it just a tad behind AT&T’s plans for LTE deployment.
Looking further on into the future, Elfman sees a nationwide roll-out of Sprint LTE feasible by the end of 2013, but just how dense that coverage would be remains to be seen.
While you’d still have multiple frequency bands to contend with, the thought of LTE unifying the US’s wireless infrastructure is intriguing. Maybe someday you’ll be able to buy an LTE smartphone on its own merits, without having to concern yourself with which carrier you’d use.