Sprint this morning announced a seven-year, $5 billion deal that hands responsibility for its network over to Ericsson, which certainly has been around the block once or twice. So as we're seeing the launch of new Windows phones on Sprint, the bullet points of what it means:
- Sprint retains full ownership and control of its network assets, and solely owns network strategy and investment decisions.
- Customers will continue to work directly with Sprint employees as their primary contact, as Sprint retains full control of the customer experience, customer technical support and services review.
- Sprint retains technology and vendor selections.
- Ericsson assumes responsibility for the day-to-day services, provisioning and maintenance for the Sprint-owned CDMA, iDEN and wireline networks.
That from the full press release, which you can also find after the break. Also of note is that some 6,000 employees will be transferred to Ericsson's control.
Dieter's done some additional analysis over at PreCentral.net (Sprint, of course, is the Palm Pre's only carrier at the moment), and that's where things get really interesting. The long and the short of it is that we may see a stronger network from Sprint in the future. And there may will have been something to the rumors of Sprint flirting with LTE technology and not just WIMAX for its 4G network.
And we're in full agreement with Dieter in that this makes Sprint even more of a middle man — remember that it spun off its WIMAX business to Clearwire and also sold a bunch of its towers and then leased them back. So Sprint's cutting a lot of its operating costs, while at the same time becoming less of a traditional carrier.
Stay tuned, folks. Things could get interesting in the coming months.