Although there is no concrete news about Apple’s next-generation iPhone, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse confirmed last Wednesday that they will be offering an unlimited 4G LTE data plan once the Cupertino-based company decided to launch such device. He considers this idea as a “marriage made in heaven,” and it is aimed to compete against other networks that offer the handset.
“I’m not anticipating the unlimited plan would change by that point. That’s our distinctive differentiator. We’re clearly attracting customers from our competitors.”
Hesse’s statement came after Sprint’s first quarter earnings revealed a loss of $863 million, as 192,000 subscribers left the network. Meanwhile, the consumer exodus can be attributed to Nextel network’s shutdown.
Despite that, the telecom sold 1.5 million iPhones, 44 percent of which were to new customers. This accounted for almost 60 percent new network subscribers in the past three months, which brings a total of 56 million consumers.
Sprint and Apple’s 4G LTE Deal
Last March, it was revealed by Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer that the telecom’s existing contract with Apple gives them an exclusive right to sell a 4G-enable iPhone in the future. Although they are yet to roll out their LTE markets, the company is planning to cover 100 million Americans once they light up their towers by mid-2012. However, Euteneuer didn’t say whether the iPhone maker will launch a handset with LTE connectivity this year.
On the other hand, Apple recently rolled out its first 4G device, the new iPad. While it is compatible with AT&T and Verizon’s LTE networks, Sprint was left out of the mix. But it doesn’t come as a surprise since the third-largest telecom in the country just recently became the iPhone maker’s carrier partner for its iPhone and iPhone 4S.
But it is because of the new iPad’s 4G LTE capabilities that many were speculating that the upcoming iPhone will carry the same feature. It should be recalled that Apple was rumored to review potential components for its next-generation handset, including Qualcomm’s MDM9615 LTE chip.
Just in time when Apple releases its next-generation iPhone this fall, Sprint will launch its 4G network in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and several other small markets later this year. Last year, Sprint signed a $20 billion worth of deal with Apple, agreeing that the telecom will sell 30.5 million iPhone units. It was followed by a 10-K filing in February 2011, which revealed that the network company actually spent $15.5 billion on the deal.