Sprint's Deal with Apple Allows Carrier to Offer LTE iPhone Should One Debut

lte logoDow Jones reports on comments from Sprint Chief Financial Officer Joe Euteneuer indicating that the carrier would be free to launch an LTE-equipped iPhone should one be introduced by Apple as many expect to occur later this year. There had been speculation that Apple might keep an LTE iPhone off of Sprint given that the carrier is well behind AT&T and Verizon in its plans to roll out an LTE network as it transitions away from WiMAX as its "4G" technology.

Sprint Chief Financial Officer Joe Euteneuer declined to say if Apple has such an iPhone planned. The carrier plans to introduce the 4G LTE network in only six cities by midyear.

Nonetheless, Euteneuer said Tuesday at an investor conference that Sprint's Apple contract is similar to those of rivals AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Wireless, and that the carrier isn't being held to any 4G LTE coverage requirements. In comparison, the other two carriers have rolled out 4G LTE to large swaths of the country.

Euteneuer noted that a theoretical iPhone launch in October of this year, in line with last year's schedule, would arrive with Sprint having rolled out LTE to many of the major cities in the United States. Consequently, he suggested that Sprint would in reality not be that far behind AT&T and Verizon by that time.

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Top Rated Comments

Boisv Avatar
160 months ago
I'm not on Sprint and I don't really know why but I'm kind of rooting for them.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AgentElliot007 Avatar
160 months ago
I'm not on Sprint and I don't really know why but I'm kind of rooting for them.

I've spent a good amount of time on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. AT&T is without a doubt my least favorite carrier, and while I'm a Verizon user today, I was quite happy with Sprint the last couple of years, and while they were not perfect, I feel like they really are trying. Their customer service improved dramatically 4-5 years ago when they got so much bad press, and in my experience after, they went above and beyond to make me happy and solve my problems. When I switched to Verizon for the iPhone last February, I felt bad leaving Sprint because I had a couple of complicated customer service experiences that they truly went above and beyond on. I called and made a point to tell them that I was leaving solely because of the iPhone, and that I was generally very happy with them as a company.

Their call quality wasn't as great as Verizon's (and in a few certain spotty areas could be terrible), but generally it was quite good for me. I never had much to complain about past BlackBerry device failures that you can't really blame on Sprint. Their data speeds were descent as well. Not quite as fast on 3G as Verizon, but on a phone, plenty usable at 1-2 Mbps on average. And again, much like Verizon, I got consistent service on Sprint BlackBerry's whereas with the AT&T iPhone 3G and 3GS, the data connection was for all intents and purposes useless on highways driving through less populated areas. It was so ridiculous to try to load things on an iPhone and have to switch over to a crappy BlackBerry, but that's AT&T for you.

What made Sprint's few shortcomings when comparing with Verizon more than easy to swallow was their great prices on plans and the fact that their plans offer a lot of content without the limits. They're simple and straightforward. I have very little bad to say about Sprint, and I too am certainly rooting for them.

(more on my experience with Verizon and AT&T below)

I'm currently (and finally thanks to the new iPad) completely locked into the Verizon network for everything. I have to say that it's by far the best network for call quality and general signal strength; I don't think I've ever really dropped more than a few calls on my Verizon iPhone now and I've had one since 7 AM on release day. And the new iPad on LTE is incredible; it's yet to have to switch over to 3G mode. But even if it does, Verizon 3G is literally just about everywhere in the USA, and it's a descent and very usable connection anywhere. But with Verizon, you definitely pay the price to have the best service, connection and at least in my experience, constistently great customer service.

With AT&T, I dropped calls all the time and had incredibly inconsistent voice quality. And while the data is great when you have a strong 3G signal in an area that's not too congested, that same 3G signal can easily be no better or worse than Verizon's slower but at least consistent signal. Sometimes it was far worse than Verizon's; almost useless to have 3G when half the time nothing loads or loads at sub-Edge speeds. Gotta love cities. And of course, Edge is basically useless, especially on the iPad, and it clicked into this far more often than I'd like even in fairly major metropolitan areas. And they were always *******s to me. On the phone, in stores, supervisors, managers, all unprofessional, rude, ignorant...pathetic customer service.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
skellener Avatar
160 months ago
If Sprint has LTE by the time the iPhone LTE debuts, I'm in. The only thing that would sway me away would be an LTE iPhone on T-Mobile. There's is no way I am ever renewing with AT&T ever again.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Beavis3 Avatar
160 months ago
Friend of mine was in town last weekend and had just gotten a Galaxy S2 on Sprint and was all excited that his phone was getting '4G' and was amazed at how quick it was. I had him download speedtest.net and he was getting about 2.5Mbps.
While sitting right beside him, I got 6Mbps on my 4S on AT&T.

Then I had him turn off the 4G...300kbps. :eek:
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hetrigger Avatar
160 months ago
No its a GSM variant so of course you can talk and surf it was always there

Thank you for straightening me out!:) Sprint still does not work where I live!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Konrad9 Avatar
160 months ago
I'm not on Sprint and I don't really know why but I'm kind of rooting for them.

Because competition is good for the consumer. Imagine if there was only 1 carrier in the US... we'd have 10kbps up/down speeds limited to 1megabyte of bandwidth per month for $100/month.
Score: 0 Votes (Like | Disagree)