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Sprint Nextel (S) Expanding LTE to 100 Markets

Sprint Nextel CorporationSprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) is a bit behind the curve when it comes to developing its 4G LTE wireless network, but has been working to accelerate its “Network Vision” project to have a seamless 3G/4G network in place by the end of 2013. As part of the rollout, the company is expected to have its high-speed 4G LTE network available in 100 markets within the next few months, according to an analyst’s report – it currently offers the network in 19 metropolitan areas.

“Network Vision” by Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) is a project designed to integrate its current 3G technology with the new, faster LTE tech into a single, seamless network across the country. The intent behind it is to increase the efficiency of capital expenditures for the company, a reduced number of cell sites that would be required, elimination of overlapping networks, lower churn rates of subscribers, reduced roaming charges and energy savings. Over seven years, this project is expected to generate $10 billion to $11 billion in savings for the company, through 2017.

Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) is expected to have the full rollout completed by the end of next year, which would put it about six months behind market leader Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), though Verizon had about an 18-month head start on its 4G LTE rollout. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), the No. 2 wireless carrier in the U.S., reports that its 4G LTE network may be near completion by the end of next year.

Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) reports that it expects to have 120 million people covered under its LTE network by the end of this calendar year and 250 million by the end of 2013. If the company can move this fast and wind up only six months behind Verizon, that just might put it in position to be a more viable competitor in the marketplace moving forward, which would be welcome longer-term news for investors in the stock, like hedge-fund manager David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital.

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