Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, speaking at CTIA this morning, made clear which 4G standard he thinks will be dominant in the future. And it's not the one his company uses.
Hesse's comment, that LTE will likely be the larger of the two 4G standards, came a day ofter Sprint announced the world's first ever 3G/4G phone, the HTC Evo. The issue: Sprint's desire to get a 4G foothold as soon as possible. While LTE might be the more popular 4G standard in the future (AT&T and Verizon are both backing it), WiMax was available now, with an established infrastructure from Sprint partner Clearwire. In Sprint's eyes, being first was more important than being biggest.
Is that going to hurt them in the long run? Unlikely. As Hesse also said, they can always add other technologies later if need be. And as Matt pointed out last year, the two technologies are actually remarkably similar and could someday be harmonized. Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow said much the same in his follow-up comments today: that the two networks have about 80% overlap, and that Clearwire will be ready, willing and able to offer LTE if and when it ever surpasses Wimax's capabilities.
Today, though—as the interest garnered in Sprint's Evo announcement proves—the benefits of having a head start on the next generation's network are clear.