Last year, it seemed like LTE would become the dominant 4G mobile data standard; after all, Verizon all but promised a commercial release this year.
However, it now looks like Sprint might be beating Verizon to the punch with WiMAX, the other promised 4G flavor.
The (rumored) plan is that Sprint is planning to team up with Walmart to put WiMAX antennas on top of all of their stores. This has numerous advantages over the standard tower building strategy.
For one, you don’t have to spend money building any towers at all this way. Also there’s none of the pain involved in dealing with the zoning rules of every township in the United States.
But the largest advantage would be the speed with which Sprint could provide almost nationwide 4G coverage. After all, there are Walmarts, it seems, everywhere. These towers would broadcast over potentially a 50 mile radius each.
Having the first fully functional 4G network in the US would make Sprint far more desirable of a carrier than it is right now. Given Sprints hemorrhage of customers in recent years, this might be just what they needed.
It’s hard to imagine anyone not opting to leap off the clogged AT&T 3G network in favor of some truly mobile broadband. After all, we’re talking up to 10 Mbps on your phone.