Sprint Product Exec: Launching LTE Devices Before Network Just Makes Sense
Sprint isn’t too concerned that it is selling LTE devices but has yet to officially launch the high-speed service anywhere in the U.S.
“I think it is much to-do about nothing,” Sprint VP Fared Adib told AllThingsD in an interview on Tuesday. Customers sign up for two-year contracts, Adib said, and it makes sense for customers who want to have the latest technology get a device that will meet their needs throughout that time. People should be more concerned if Sprint weren’t doing that, he said.
“We’ve done this before,” he said. “So has every other carrier.”
Adib noted that Sprint’s LTE deployment, which will start with a few cities around midyear, will be faster than the rollout of prior technologies, including its 2G, 3G and WiMax networks.
Speaking of WiMax, Sprint may not be introducing new phones for its flagship brand, but it is now extending that technology to its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile prepaid services. Virgin and Boost both announced plans to start selling a WiMax device from HTC. (Virgin has a variant of the Evo 3D, while Boost will sell a phone similar to the traditional Evo 4G.)
The company has said it plans to continue offering WiMax service through at least 2015.
Also on Tuesday, Sprint announced a new bundle of family safety and security applications under the Sprint Guardian banner. The effort consists of a $10 per month service from Location Labs’ Safely unit and a $5 per month security service from Lookout.
Both services cover up to five devices, which could be a savings for families that have a bunch of Sprint phones.
Adding such services can help increase loyalty to Sprint among families with multiple devices — already a traditionally loyal group and a key source of revenue for all the major carriers.
“You might change phones and plans but you don’t change carriers,” Adib said of those customers.
One area where Sprint hasn’t been all that aggressive is in introducing devices running Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. Adib said that Sprint certainly took note of the slow initial sales globally for the first crop of Windows Phones.
Still, Adib said that the company is a longtime partner of Microsoft’s and expects to offer future Windows Phones, likely after the debut of Windows Phone 8.
“I don’t want to give you any specific dates,” he said.
But he said he is “very bullish” on Windows Phone overall and said the company has rapidly closed some of the gaps it had in terms of performance and capabilities. Adib said he has also been pleased to see the work Nokia has done in reintroducing itself in the U.S. with its first Lumia devices.
“I think we are going to continue to see that,” he said.
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