By Greg Bensinger
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) said it has entered into accords with several companies to provide fourth-generation mobile broadband service on its nascent Long-Term Evolution network.
"We have signed contracts on LTE," said Matt Carter, president of Sprint's wholesale solutions and new ventures, in an interview Wednesday in New York. "It's in the double digits," he said, declining to identify the companies.
Sprint is promoting its wholesale business as it works on a $5 billion network upgrade over the next several years. Wholesaling to companies such as America Movil SAB's (AMX, AMX.MX) TracFone helped Sprint to boost its customer rolls by 2.7 million last year, more than any other business, and is a less-expensive path to growth because it comes without user-acquisition or marketing costs.
Sprint is building out a 4G LTE network that it plans to make available in several U.S. cities by mid-year. It faces an uphill battle against rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. (T), which already operate 4G LTE networks--promising download speeds up to 10 times faster than existing 3G service. Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group PLC (VOD, VOD.LN).
Carter said he was seeing more wholesale interest from other overseas carriers that want to provide customers with a network for when they travel to the U.S.
Sprint shares were recently trading at $2.43, up 4 cents.
-By Greg Bensinger, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-4676; firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 07, 2012 11:44 ET (16:44 GMT)
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