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Sprint changes LTE device due date from Mid 2012 to Q3/Q4 2012 and controversy ensues



blog-0082766001329883873.jpgby Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 1:28 PM MST


Yesterday, Sprint updated us all that we can expect devices in the 3rd and 4th Quarter of 2012. Previously, Sprint has used terminology that it expects to release LTE devices in Mid 2012. Of course, because something new was said, the blogosphere and message boards have gone bonkers exclaiming delays.

The big deal probably comes from the assumption that many folks have made that Sprint would release LTE devices around June 4th. Sprint never made such a claim. However, many wireless dorks jumped to the conclusion that Sprint would release a LTE device when countless numbers of Evo device holders start coming off contract.

The original Evo went on sale on June 4, 2010. And it's initial sales were a blockbuster success. The Evo sold millions of units, as well as the Epic that came out shortly afterward. And Sprint definitely is in a pickle if these device holders have no LTE device to upgrade to. Especially in Non-WiMax markets. It's going to have to start pumping out incentives to keep them.

Since many people assumed Sprint was trying to make this early June date, to hear 3rd Quarter sounds like a significant slip. However, Sprint has never said they would make June with LTE devices. Since October 7th, they have been a constant chorus saying the first LTE devices could be expected in Mid 2012. And that they would release approximately 15 LTE devices before the end of 2012.

When is Mid-2012, technically? The very middle of 2012 is July 1st. OK...so for the most part Sprint has been saying they will be releasing their LTE devices some time in the period in the rough proximity to July 1st.

Now Sprint is saying they are releasing their devices in the 3rd and 4th Quarter of 2012. And in another quote, they said they second half of 2012. I'm no calendar genius. But I know that the third quarter begins on July 1st. And the second half of 2012 begins on July 1st also. Is this really much of a deviation, if any? Sprint did not specifically say there was delays.

In further conversation about the subject, Sprint's Chief Financial Officer Joe Euteneuer said it’s likely that the LTE devices will be released in the third quarter. So even if it was the end of the third quarter, that's the second half of September. Nothing here to suggest the sky is falling, really. And a Sprint spokesperson even confirmed that Mr. Euteneuer's comments don't speak to any delay and are being misinterpreted.

And furthermore, even if Sprint is experiencing a delay, I hope it's for good reason. Like they now see it as important to make sure their initial devices support more than one LTE frequency. It would be tragic if Sprint's initial LTE devices only support LTE on 1900. If Sprint is wise, their LTE devices would be dual-band and support LTE on 800 and 1900 right from the gates. And it would be even better if they are LTE tri-band and support 2500 too. That way, new LTE devices will meet Sprint customer needs for years to come.

And if delaying the release of LTE devices by 30 to 45 days gets them to dual-band or tri-band LTE support, then it'll be worth the wait. And that's if there really is a delay occurring at all.


Joe Euteneuer, Sprint Chief Financial Officer


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