Global shipments of smartphones with embedded 4G are expected to grow at a staggering rate over the next five years, reaching 245 million devices in 2016. Market research and intelligence firm ABI Research recently released 4G smartphone shipment projections that show shipments growing at a compound rate of 72% annually over the next five years. Just 4.6 million 4G smartphones shipped worldwide in 2010 according to the firm, but the rapid deployment of LTE networks combined with consumers’ collective need for speed will see that figure increase dramatically moving forward. “Nearly all of the world’s mobile operators, including the largest, are supporting LTE,” ABI Research analyst Michael Morgan said in a statement. “It is an important driver for the LTE ecosystem that dwarfs any other drivers of 4G in general or of WiMAX and LTE, specifically.” ABI’s full press release follows below. More →
Sprint announced at its Strategy Update meeting on Friday that it has adjusted its 4G rollout plans in order to deploy the carrier’s new network more rapidly. The carrier will also convert to a single-network architecture, moving away from CDMA and WiMAX as it rolls out its LTE network. Sprint had initially announced a 3-5 year plan for the rollout, and on Friday network operations head Steve Elfman confirmed that Sprint’s 4G LTE network rollout will be largely complete by the end of 2013. Sprint’s 4G LTE network will launch in initial markets in mid-2012, and the carrier is working with Qualcomm to ensure an assortment of devices are available at launch. Sprint also confirmed that it will continue to sell 4G WiMAX devices through 2012.
Sprint announced back in August that it would be hosting a “Strategy Update” meeting today, and the uncommon phrasing set our imaginations aflutter. Will it be about the iPhone? Well, we already know Sprint will carry both the iPhone and iPhone 4S beginning the 14th, but Sprint has been eerily quiet about finally procuring the world’s most popular smartphone so we wouldn’t be surprised to hear more about it today. There’s also a supposed $20 billion deal with Apple that the company inked recently, so perhaps we’ll hear about that. Will Sprint elaborate on its 4G plans? The carrier said in July that it worked out a deal with LightSquared to adopt 4G LTE, but LightSquared is having issues lately and again, Sprint has been awfully quiet lately. We’re just minutes away from getting the skinny straight from the horse’s mouth, so hit the break for our live coverage of Sprint’s press conference, which is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, and don’t forget to refresh the page for all the latest updates. More →
This has been a crazy, crazy, crazy week so far, but it’s not over yet. Sprint is holding a “Strategy Update” meeting Friday morning in New York City and BGR will be reporting live to bring you all the news as it unfolds. Will we hear more about Sprint’s deal with Apple and the iPhone? Perhaps. Will we hear more about Sprint’s plan to find a way out of its current 4G jam? Almost certainly. No one knows exactly what’s in store from Sprint tomorrow, but we have a pretty good feeling we’re in for a jaw-dropper or two.
Bookmark this link, which will go live tomorrow morning, and make sure to head there for our live coverage of the Sprint Strategy Update meeting. Coverage will begin just before 9:30 a.m. Eastern.
We are here at Samsung’s press event in New York City where the phone maker just took the wraps off of Sprint’s brand new GALAXY S II smartphone. The GALAXY S II Epic 4G Touch offers full support for Sprint’s 4G WiMAX network and is equipped with 16GB of storage, a large Super AMOLED Plus display, an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p video, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats, and a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. We really like the textured back of the phone, which gives it a good grip, but the plastic build still feels just a bit cheap to us. We really wish Samsung would adopt stronger materials in its flagship devices, such as metals and soft-touch rubberized plastic. Still, the phone easily zips through Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and Samsung’s custom TouchWiz user interface. Sprint will be the first to launch the GALAXY S II Epic 4G Touch on September 16th and it’s priced at $199.99 with a new two-year contract.
During a press event in New York City on Tuesday, Samsung officially took the wraps off of its U.S. GALAXY S II smartphone family. Sprint’s Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch will support the carrier’s 4G WiMAX network while the T-Mobile and AT&T devices will run on each carrier’s respective HSPA+ network. Each iteration of the GALAXY S II smartphone is equipped with a 4.52-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p video, and a 2-megapixel forward-facing camera for video chats. T-Mobile and Sprint’s GALAXY S II phones offer more rounded cases while AT&T’s maintains the sharper edges of the European GALAXY S II. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile expect to launch the GALAXY S II this fall, although pricing details were not revealed. We’re here at the event live so stay tuned for hands-on reports for each device. Read on for the full press release.
Wireless telcos in the United States are poised to invest as much as $53 billion in 4G wireless network technology and buildouts over the next five years, resulting in as much as $151 billion in gross domestic product growth. A new report from accounting and consulting firm Deloitte suggests that that 4G expansion by U.S. wireless companies could also create as many as 771,000 new jobs between 2012 and 2016. Deloitte sees $25 million as the minimum 4G investment from telecommunications companies over the next five years, resulting from a scenario where companies deploy 4G networks at a moderate pace and transition slowly from 3G to 4G. If Verizon Wireless’ current pace is any indication, this will likely not be the road major carriers will take with 4G rollouts. The firm believes as much as $53 billion will be spent, however, if U.S. carriers take a leadership roll by deploying 4G faster than carriers in other regions. “Investment in such a powerful form of communication contributes to the economic recovery and provides a job-creating engine for the future,” said Phil Asmundson, Deloitte vice chairman and U.S. media and telecommunications sector leader, in a statement. “The key to harnessing the potential benefits of 4G technology lies in America’s market-driven wireless sector, which encourages the emergence of innovative applications that spur productivity and could produce the same surge of innovation and demand we experienced during the 3G era.” Deloitte’s full press release follows below. More →
Sprint has abandoned its plans to launch a version of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with an embedded 4G WiMAX radio. The nation’s No. 3 wireless carrier cited a lack of demand among business customers as its reasoning for the cancellation, The Wall Street Journal reports. “It’s an interesting concept, it just hasn’t caught on with business customers as much as they would like,” said president of Sprint’s business markets group, Paget Alves. “There are so many tablets in the market, it creates confusion for the average customer.” Sprint announced in January that it would release a 4G BlackBerry PlayBook sometime this summer, and a Sprint spokesperson told The Journal that the decision to not release the 4G PlayBook will have no impact on the carrier’s relationship with RIM.
In a note to investors on Tuesday, BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk raised his rating on Sprint stock from Sell to Neutral without indicating a new price target. Piecyk had previously set his price target at $3.13, but noted that the stock now trades under five times BTIG’s 2012 earnings estimate, which is below consensus. The firm notes that it is not moving to a Buy rating because Sprint’s stock may fall further still, due to uncertain earnings, high debt leverage, lack of free cash flow and a worrisome 4G strategy. Piecyk believes that Sprint “needs to develop a clear 4G strategy including financing or taking control of Clearwire.” While BTIG did revise its estimates downward based on lower potential margins due to increased roaming costs, increased Network Vision expenses and the potential need for increased handset subsidies, it notes that upcoming events such as the resolution of Sprint’s Clearwire relationship and the potential launch of Apple’s iPhone 5 could have a positive impact on Sprint’s performance.
Sprint and Samsung on Friday unveiled the Samsung Conquer 4G, an affordable Android smartphone that will launch later this month. While many Android fans on Sprint are currently waiting for news of the Epic Touch 4G with bated breath, the Conquer 4G is still a terrific option for smartphone buyers on a budget. Spec highlights include a 1GHz processor, Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a 3.5-inch touchscreen and of course, compatibility with Sprint’s 3G and 4G networks. “The price of Samsung Conquer 4G makes Sprint’s 4G speeds accessible to more customers than ever,” Sprint’s VP of Product Development Fared Adib said in a statement. “We are proud to deliver this dynamic device at a great value without sacrificing must-have technology. Our customers can really do more for less when this ultra-affordable 4G device is paired with the great value of our unlimited data calling plans.” The full press release follows below. More →
Clearwire on Wednesday announced its intent to adopt LTE across its network. The 4G wholesaler says it may add LTE Advanced-ready technology to its network that will provide up to 120Mbps download speeds according to network technology trials. “Clearwire plans to raise the bar again for mobile broadband service in the United States,” said John Stanton, Clearwire’s Chairman and interim CEO, in a statement. “Our leadership in launching 4G services forced a major change in the competitive mobile data landscape. Now, we plan to bring our considerable spectrum portfolio to bear to deliver an LTE network capable of meeting the future demands of the market.” Clearwire confirmed that it does not intend to discontinue support for its 4G WiMAX network in the near term, and it will continue to build out its WiMAX network. The company did not put a timeline on the plans, however, saying that its entire LTE deployment strategy is “subject to additional funding.” Clearwire’s full press release follows below. More →
Sprint announced on Tuesday that it is now selling access to its 4G WiMAX network, currently available in 71 markets across the United States, to its wholesale customers. Typically the carrier only sells its 3G network to wholesaler customers and it is now the first U.S. carrier to sell 4G wholesale. Sprint said that it will offer its customers the Sierra Wireless 250U 3G/4G data card as well as the HTC Detail 4G handset and the EVO Shift 4G. Mitel is among the first of Sprint’s wholesale customers to deploy a 4G network. Read on for the full press release from Sprint. More →
We know we don’t have long to wait before Samsung’s wildly popular Galaxy S II smartphone launches stateside. It’s also a pretty safe bet that the sleek smartphone will reach all four major U.S. carriers considering how popular the original Galaxy S was. Additional details have been slow to surface, but we’ve just been given some preliminary details about one of the four U.S. variants we’ve been waiting for. BGR has learned that Sprint’s version of the slim smartphone will launch as the Samsung Epic Touch 4G. Like its predecessor, the Epic Touch 4G will feature 4G WiMAX connectivity, though as its moniker might suggest, it will lack the QWERTY keyboard found on the original Epic 4G. Additional specs are hardly a mystery — we reviewed the international version of the Galaxy S II back in May. And while we have yet to track down a specific release date for this cutting edge Gingerbread phone, our source did say that it is launching in September. Also of note: Sprint will launch both the BlackBerry Curve 9350 (Sedona) and the Samsung Conquer 4G later this month, possibly as soon as August 21st.