Sprint Nextel 4G decision coming ‘in next several months’

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NEW YORK—Lehman Bros. Equity Research analysts said that they expect Sprint Nextel Corp. soon to make public plans for the carrier’s vast 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings, and Sprint Nextel confirmed that the operator is working on making its decision.

“We expect to make a 4G technology choice decision within the next several months,” said Sprint Nextel spokesman John Polivka.

As part of a report on the upcoming spectrum auction and its implications for wireless equipment vendors, Lehman Bros. analyst Jeff Kvaal noted that given Sprint Nextel’s healthy spectrum position, it is unlikely to be a major participant in the auction.

“We believe, however, that Sprint is likely to announce its technology decision for its 2.5 GHz spectrum over the next several months,” Kvaal added.

He went on to say that the new spectrum licenses are likely to spur investment in network equipment, and that Lehman estimated that “a greenfield nationwide network, such as a T-Mobile [USA Inc.] W-CDMA network or Sprint’s 2.5 GHz build, could cost [about]$4 billion.”

Sprint Nextel has been conducting various technology trials for its 2.5 GHz spectrum, including WiMAX solutions from Motorola Inc. and Samsung Telecommunications America L.L.P.; IPWireless Inc.’s UMTS TD-CDMA solution; and Qualcomm Inc.’s Flash-OFDM technology.

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