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Sprint Finally Joins 4G LTE Wireless Race

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the sprinting-apparently-is-a-bit-slow dept.

Wireless Networking 67

alphadogg writes "Sprint, which has been building up its LTE smartphone lineup this year, Monday finally turned on a 4G LTE network in 15 cities to support those devices. Sprint, which is entering the LTE network race well behind AT&T and Verizon, has initially launched 4G LTE in cities across Georgia, Texas, Missouri and Kansas. Sprint says it will add markets throughout the rest of 2012 and expects to have largely completed its 4G LTE build-out by the end of 2013 (along with enhanced 3G coverage) to address the wireless voice and data needs of 250 million people across the United States. Sprint has some major catching up to do on the 4G LTE network rollout front, though the fact that LTE adoption by customers has been slow at least gives the carrier a bit of breathing room. LTE network demand is expected to surge later this year, assuming Apple rolls out an iPhone 5 with LTE support."

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Firefly? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40667651)

Firefly is dead and its never coming back.

False advertising (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40667715)

I knew Sprint was falsely advertising for years!!!
Always claiming they had the first 4G phone when they didn't even have a 4G network.

Re:False advertising (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40667757)

I knew Sprint was falsely advertising for years!!!

Always claiming they had the first 4G phone when they didn't even have a 4G network.

Um, Wi-Max is 4G. It's just a dead end version of it.

Re:False advertising (2)

GeneralSecretary (1959616) | more than 2 years ago | (#40667771)

Sprint has WiMax which they call 4G, so this is not their first 4G network.

Re:False advertising (1)

kh31d4r (2591021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40669845)

There isn't even a 4G standard, but since when did that stop anyone in marketing?

What about coverage? (2)

von_rick (944421) | more than 2 years ago | (#40667779)

They could roll out as many new technologies they want, but with Sprint it is hard to actually get the coverage and speeds they promise. Unlimited 4G data plans are meaningless if your phones keeps showing the "No service" symbol whenever you are indoors.

Re:What about coverage? (3, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40667973)

Unlimited 4G data plans are meaningless if your phones keeps showing the "No service" symbol whenever you are indoors.

Or outdoors. I bought my Evo 4G in, what, 2009? They told me that 4G service was coming to Phoenix "soon". The only time I ever use 4G with Sprint is if I go to Las Vegas. Sprint can take their 4G "network" and blow it out their ass. At this point if I stay with Sprint I'll look forward to being able to use a 4G LTE network sometime in mid 2025.

Re:What about coverage? (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40667985)

Correction, that would be 2010.

Re:What about coverage? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674879)

My sprint coverage has been 100% everywhere I go across the country (even 5 miles up in an airplane). The only time I lose coverage is a brief 30-minute spot in the PA mountains. But then that's a "dead" spot for all technologies. There's also no TV or radio coverage. Just static.

Re:What about coverage? (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40675821)

Oh I get coverage, I get all the 3G, sometimes-20kbps-speed network I want. But the only time I turn on the 4G antenna is when I go to another city. You won't find Sprint 4G in Phoenix. We've got over 4 million people living in this area, but no 4G. But Boise, ID; Kenniwick, WA; Layton, UT - all the 4G you want there. Just not in the 6th largest city in the country.

Re:What about coverage? (1)

Monoman (8745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40673177)

This is one of the reasons I left Sprint. I gave them two years (bought an EVO 4G the day they came out) and they did nothing but change for the worse.

It was like like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown. Well I'm no Charlie Brown, you can only yank the ball away from me once ... maybe twice. ;-)

Re:What about coverage? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674893)

I can't get 4g in new orleans on my epic 4g either. Hell, I barely get 3g anywhere.

My average download speed is under 300kbps, sometimes I get "3g" from sprint that is slower than edge 2g.

Re:What about coverage? (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40675875)

My average download speed is under 300kbps

Luxury! A few results from using the speedtest.net app on the "Now Network" here in Phoenix:

4/12/12 - 97kbps
1/17/12 - 132kbps
10/3/11 - 197kbps
8/2/11 - 35kbps
3/17/11 - 40kbps

Right now it is showing a ping of 138ms and a download speed of 189kbps.

Re:What about coverage? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40668035)

Your statement isn't really accurate.... I have Sprint, and my phone works great.

I live near on the lake in Cleveland. Around here, Verizon is notorious for having terrible service. I used to be a Verizon customer, and I would get 0-1 bars in the house, and would drop calls all of the time. I told Verizon about the problem, and they said I needed to update to a newer phone. Verizon will never admit a problem with their network, even if it is clear there is one.

Switched to Sprint a couple of years ago and I have consistently had 3-4 bars, plus 4G coverage, never a dropped call. Plus I can use my phone all I want without any concerns about going over in my data charges.

Perhaps Sprint used to have bad coverage, but this *really* isn't the case anymore. Sprint has stepped up their coverage areas to where their phones work pretty much everywhere. In the areas where Sprint doesn't have native coverage, you still have unlimited roaming on other networks.

Here is a sample comparison in coverage maps in my area:

http://i.imgur.com/XyLqi.jpg [imgur.com]

http://i.imgur.com/CkXQM.jpg [imgur.com]

http://i.imgur.com/N90Yw.jpg [imgur.com]

The top one is Sprint, and the bottom one is Verizon. At least in my region, Sprint works everywhere. Verizon is spotty - all of the white parts on the Verizon map are dead zones.

Verizon markets themselves as the carrier with the best coverage, although in practice I haven't really found that to be true. They still have a major problem with dead zones.

Re:What about coverage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40668477)

Lucky you. I go to College at Elizabethtown, PA; live in Allentown PA; work in Lancaster, PA; and spend my weekends all over the philadelphia-wilmington region. Oh, and occasionally I visit wilkes-barre, pa.

In every place I've listed, I'm lucky to get 1 or 2 bars outside of the places I stay. I'm not saying 3-5 bars is unheard of, but they are the exception, especially in doors. And no, I'm not in a basement either. It seems I only get good/consistent reception on the major roads and like center city of those regions. Its not my phone either- I've had both a palm pre and a galaxy nexus, its held for both. I'm in the third floor of my dorm and academic building. My phone dies in a matter of hours due to the lack of reception. Granted, the concrete doesnt help, but even outside one bar is the norm. Even when I do find 3g, its slower than Verizon 4g in each of the areas listed (my girlfriend and best friend both have a gnex as well on Verizon).

Don't get me wrong,when it works, it works beautifully, and I'm never a mile out of range of a signal. Native Google voice makes it so I can text via wifi anyway. I just wish I could have a signal in doors so my battery doesn't die instantly due to its continuous searching for a signal. My pre would last up to two hours at school near the end of its life, and i even bought another battery. I wish that was hyperbole, but sadly, it wasn't. The only reason I haven't gone red is because I'm too poor to afford a cell plan on my own and my parents refuse to switch due to the unlimited data.

And yet, I still prefer sprint to AT&T.
--Posted from my gnex (of course, via wifi), so my apologies for any spelling or grammatical errors.

Re:What about coverage? (2)

Lothsahn (221388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40669085)

How about an airave or a cellular repeater? Sounds like you'd be an ideal candidate for one...

http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/ [wilsonelectronics.com]

Re:What about coverage? (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 2 years ago | (#40672731)

Just call Sprint and ask for customer retention and tell them you want a free airrave.

I have Sprint, get zero reception in my home, and told them to fix it. They next-day sent me an airrave and activated it for free, with no charge for the service, and even gave me a $50 credit for my inconvenience.

Re:What about coverage? (1)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | more than 2 years ago | (#40673927)

I have an airave . I had a very weak signal in my house. After calling tech support, updating PRLs, etc., i was approved for an airave. It came quickly and setting it up is pretty straightforward. It's kind of annoying though.

  1. Every time you make an outgoing call, you get 3 short tones on your handset (its to tell you your call is going thru the airave).
  2. You need to locate the airave where it can get a GPS signal, otherwise you need to hook up a hockey puck type antenna to it. Its on a very long wire, but its something else you have to account for.
  3. They want it installed in front of your router. I don't trust them, so I won't do that. It gets plugged into the router.
  4. I have to reboot the thing at least once a week.
  5. Depending on where I am in the house, sometimes the phone connects to the airave, sometimes it doesn't.
  6. Sometimes, if you network it a little slow, the voice quality drops to shit. And then you have to unplug the thing to make and receive calls, because the phone will keep using it as long as it sees it.

Its a very good concept, it just doesn't work as well as it should.

Re:What about coverage? (1)

Christophotron (812632) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674475)

The airave piggybacks on a terrestrial (home) internet connection (i.e. AT&T DSL, Roadrunner, etc.) to create a virtual Sprint cell tower. If I am paying Sprint to have a wireless internet connection anywhere I go, how does it make any sense at all to connect to Sprint's service via a secondary internet connection that I also have to pay for? In other words, if I am in a location where I can set up an airave, then I can simply use WIFI instead and thus have absolutely no need for Sprint. (Yes, I know some people do use Sprint to make calls but, imo, that is irrelevant. Sprint is a wireless ISP that also happens to provide voice service).

Re:What about coverage? (1)

glebovitz (202712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668709)

As many are saying, it depends on where you live. I got excellent service with Sprint in the Boston area. In 7 years I did not drop one call while commuting. I never had a 4G Sprint phone, but the 3G was pretty good. I never felt my phone was getting bad throughput. I could get service even in the subway (probably through service agreements with Verizon).

Now I have AT&T with an iPhone 4Gs. I can't use my phone in the Subway. Calls made while commuting are dropped 3 to 5 times. The throughput sucks and I often find myself without connectivity even though I have 5 Bars on the phone.

Re:What about coverage? (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40673079)

Atlanta here. Sprint is excellent. I get coverage pretty much everywhere, and WiMax most places.

Re:What about coverage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40739009)

I'm on AT&T. My real estate clients love my phone because I can call up a house to show them and almost be there by the time my old phone would show it.

Re:What about coverage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40744421)

I do the same thing in San Francisco with my real estate clients. I can only imagine when things get even faster than 4G LTE, but am pretty happy now.

Re:What about coverage? (1)

buybuydandavis (644487) | more than 2 years ago | (#40669725)

Lived maybe a 1/4 mile from Clear's headquarters in Kirkland, WA.No signal.

Going with Sprint was a horrible call for me. Is there any reason to believe they'll do a better job with their 4g LTE?

Re:What about coverage? (1)

robkeeney (1061032) | more than 2 years ago | (#40674855)

Sprint would get a lot more business if they'd focus on simply having any service at all in the 90% of the country that they ignore.

Re:What about coverage? (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40701965)

Yup. They have much the same problem as T-Mo... they're only on the higher frequency cell band.

I live in a small wooded lot (24 acres of woods, two of house and yard). I can get Verizon, occasionally, in my cellar. No 4G in the area, but Verizon's on the 850MHz band, for both 2G and 3G, which punches though trees and walls pretty effectively. After all, this used to be the top end of the UHF TV band, back when it went to channel 83.

Sprint can sometimes be picked up at the end of my driveway. Now sure, some of this may be better cellular placement by Verizon. But Sprint's limited to 1900MHz for voice and 3G data. And worse yet, they're on 2500MHz for Wi-Max. Having developed radio technology in my cellar (we eventually got a real office), I've done plenty of testing in this area. Our original 2.4GHz radio made it less than ten feet into the forest. A couple of years later, the 425MHz radio pushed through the forest, across the cornfield, and all the way (1/2 mile) to a country road.

Sprint's LTE should make this much better... they're using the old Nextel band, 800MHz or so, which will be pretty similar in performance to AT&T and Verizon on the 700MHz band. Won't entirely solve the problem of towers, but as it stands, T-Mo and Sprint will simply need more towers for the same coverage. AT&T's a bit of both; they can do 2G on 850MHz, and 4G at 700MHz as mentioned, but 3G is on both 850MHz and 1900MHz, so it's less robust than Verizon's. Faster, sure, but no use if you can't get it in the first place.

And when quoting speeds, they all usually tell you where they've capped it. Every data service has a performance cap. Sometimes, as in the case of Verizon and Sprint 3G, it's probably at the limit of the protocol -- EvDO isn't going to download faster than 3.1Mb/s no matter what you do. And only that if you're the only user and basically sitting under the cell tower. And assuming they have a fast enough backhaul. AT&T typically caps their 3G at 7.2Mb/s or 14.4Mb/s, while T-Mo doesn't cap it much at all, but calls it 4G to confuse everything. Sprint, on the other hand, runs a real "near-4G" Wi-Max, but caps it at around 8-12Mb/s (depends a little if you're on Sprint, Comcast, or Clear service plans -- it's all the same network). And I don't think they even bothered rolling this out beyond cities, in a large part due to the short range of the 2.5GHz band.

Network Vision (2)

GeneralSecretary (1959616) | more than 2 years ago | (#40667795)

This is part of Sprint's interesting Network Vision project, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp_jpIdr_uw [youtube.com] This allows them to have each tower support all their various networks and should be extendable for future technologies.

Re:Network Vision (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668127)

Does Sprint have a vision to bring any 4G network at all to the 6th biggest city in the country? Or are we still screwed for the foreseeable future?

Re:Network Vision (1)

Stephenmg (265369) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668417)

Yes, there goal was to reach 250 million people by the end of 2013. http://www.androidcentral.com/sprint-ramps-network-vision-deployment-announces-national-4g-lte-rollout [androidcentral.com] Also, keep in mind, they've only been working on this since about last November, they seem to making rather good pace.

Re:Network Vision (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40675695)

They were "working" on it when I bought my Evo 4G in the middle of 2010. I doubt that phone will ever see a 4G network in Phoenix before I replace it. It doesn't support LTE, so they'll probably just skip WiMax and go to LTE. Thanks, Sprint.

What's the big deal? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40667841)

If wikipedia is accurate it only downloads at 1/3rd of 4G speed.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#40667931)

That's because LTE isn't really 4G.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668643)

I thought it was HSPA that's not really 4G. [businessinsider.com] LTE seems to be much faster.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Sollord (888521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40670317)

LTE Advanced is a real 4G (1 Gbit/s) standard but what the carriers are pushing as 4G is actually regular LTE which considered to be 3.9G (100 Mbit/s) at most

It breaks down to basically the list below but anything theoretically capable of doing more then 40Mbit/s is called 4G by marketing
3G - (300 Kbit/s down) EVDO and WCDMA
3.5G - (14 Mbit/s Down / 5.7 Mbit/s Up) HSDPA/HSUPA and EVDO Rev. B
3.75G - (42 Mbit/s Down / 22 Mbit/s Up) HSPA+
3.9G - (100 Mbit/s Down / 50 Mbit/s Up) LTE and WiMax and HSPA+ rel 8
4G - (1 Gbit/s Down/ 500Mbit/s Up) - LTE Adavnaced and WiMAX 16.m

All four major carriers now support LTE (4, Informative)

toejam13 (958243) | more than 2 years ago | (#40667967)

At this point, all four major carriers now support LTE. So the next question is: will we start to see handsets that cover the entire LTE frequency smorgasbord that is used within North America?

Current LTE:
Band 04 : 1710-1755 UL / 2110-2155 DL - AT&T, T-Mobile, MetroPCS
Band 12 : 0699-0716 UL / 0729-0746 DL - Verizon, US Cellular
Band 13 : 0777-0787 UL / 0746-0756 DL - Verizon
Band 17 : 0704-0716 UL / 0734-0746 DL - AT&T
Band 25 : 1850-1915 UL / 1930-1995 DL - Sprint
Band 26 : 0814-0849 UL / 0859-0894 DL - Sprint

Future LTE:
Band 02 : 1850-1910 UL / 1930-1990 DL - currently being used for HSPA+ by AT&T and T-Mobile
Band 41: 2496-2690 TDD - currently being used for WiMax by Clearwire for Sprint

How many bloody G's are there? (3, Interesting)

Narrowband (2602733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668059)

At some point, you'd think it might be more cost effective for the handset manufacturers to start using some form of software defined radio to allow handsets to switch between different bands. Or at least some sort of FPGA solution reprogrammable by something like a firmware update. I suppose there might be some antenna inefficiency as you start switching away from what your antenna is tuned for, but I'm not sure how much.

Re:How many bloody G's are there? (3, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668327)

Software defined radios are used at towers, because power is cheap and plentiful (vs a portable device).

Eventually, a chip manufacturer will start building a radio that does the whole swath of LTE. It's just going to be a bit. Remember, LTE still hasn't been around anywhere near as long as CDMA or GSM.

Re:How many bloody G's are there? (3, Informative)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668651)

The biggest problem with LTE for handsets is power. Frequency translations in software are the last thing you want to do if you're worried about battery life.

Re:How many bloody G's are there? (2)

YoopDaDum (1998474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40670825)

A handset radio subsystem is made of three parts: 1) the modem baseband, doing the digital processing, 2) the RF, pushing the signal between baseband to/from the final RF frequency and 3) the RF front-end (RFFE), doing the filtering and possibly low noise amplification in the reception direction, and power amplification (PA) in the transmit direction.

Now every time multi-bands support comes up, someone says "SDR" as the magic solution. But SDR applies to the modem baseband part only, and is actually quite common in many existing LTE devices. And it's irrelevant to this issue: the baseband, even if hardware centric, has no problem supporting any bands. Same for most recent RF chips: they're also multibands already.

The issue is the RF front-end: those filters are specific to a given bands. You want more bands? You need more filters (and possibly switches, unless the RF chips has enough separate ports) and this add cost and space on the PCB. And then there are the PAs. For now the wider the PA, the lower its efficiency (and even "wide" PA do not cover all bands, just a few 100s MHz at most). Low efficiency means higher battery consumption and higher heat (which degrades the efficiency too). There's a solution coming hopefully soon for PAs, called envelope tracking (ET). It should enable both efficient and wideband PAs. For filters, I haven't heard of any reasonably sized and cheap programmable filters with proper performance. That's the bottleneck for now. I someone can crack this nut, there's a big market to gain.

Re:How many bloody G's are there? (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40673727)

Now every time multi-bands support comes up, someone says "SDR" as the magic solution. But SDR applies to the modem baseband part only, and is actually quite common in many existing LTE devices. And it's irrelevant to this issue: the baseband, even if hardware centric, has no problem supporting any bands. Same for most recent RF chips: they're also multibands already.

Actually, SDRs are capable of receiving up to around 125MHz or so, and transmitting over 600MHz - you can get 250MS/s ADCs and 1.2GU/s (for ADCs, it's samples, and DACs it's updates) DACs. With a bit of careful clocking, you can easily gang 4 or more of them to get an effective 1GS/s ADC (up to 500MHz by Nyquist).

Nowhere near cellphone frequencies, and we're talking about ADCs that cost over $150 in 1000 lot quantities (the DAC is somewhat cheaper, being only around $50 or so in 1000 lots).

Direct-conversion SDRs consisting of only a low-noise preamp (Rx) and power amp (Tx) are not only in the realm of possibility, they're becoming available (FlexRadio 6000 series is a direct-conversion SDR - it has an FPGA to accellerate the digital downconversion (mixing) and can do 4 of them per ADC, and does direct conversion transmit as well. They call it digital at the antenna.).

But yeah, SDRs aren't a magic bullet - there's still tons of RF work - even a direct conversion SDR requires an RF frontend (a situation unlikely to change as super-sensitive ADCs are an even more niche product than a high-bandwidth ADC). But the baseband part is rapidly becoming obsolete.

Re:All four major carriers now support LTE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40668889)

what about the rest of the space in between all those blocks?

I don't get why LTE can't just be one block of frequency in every country-- why can no countries share frequencies for phones? Is it so you have to buy phones locally?

Except it doesn't matter (4, Informative)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668023)

Because Sprint has had Wimax since the beginning (longer than any other company has had 4G^H^H 3.5G). The only reason they're changing over is that they're pretty much the only ones that have adopted Wimax instead of LTE. Wimax is still gonna be supported by Sprint into 2014 - there's really no rush to change over.

And honestly, there's really no difference between Wimax and LTE either outside of the fact that more people started adopting LTE after Sprint started building up their Wimax network. It's not like the speeds are worlds apart in the way that '4G' is an improvement over 3G. LTE is a little bit faster than Wimax, but the difference will be totally inconsequential.

So for that, shame on whoever wrote the title.

Re:Except it doesn't matter (3, Interesting)

shaitand (626655) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668331)

Which would be fine if new 4g phones supported wimax and if sprint had any wimax coverage. But the wimax coverage is just as crappy as this new 4g lte coverage and overlaps it.

You'd think they'd build 4g lte in at least the major cities where they don't have 4g coverage so that there would be 4g options for most places. As it stands they've spent what is no doubt a great deal of investment capital to bring 4g coverage to those who already have it! If anyone really wanted 4g in these places they are probably already locked in a 4g contract so there won't likely be much revenue coming from this one.

Re:Except it doesn't matter (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#40669155)

I agree with you, but you should note that the Sprint LTE rollout *is* coming more quickly to many areas that don't have WiMax already (I have been monitoring it pretty closely). So the order is not the same (I actually can't quite understand the pattern).

More importantly, they are upgrading 3G in many areas at both similar and different times- which will impact far more users. (There are reports of great 3G updates already in areas nowhere near ready for LTE upgrades).

Re:Except it doesn't matter (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40669099)

There IS a rush to transition to LTE, handset availability and the fact that Clear has been a horrible partner that never met the coverage or speed targets that were originally planned. Sprint thought they would build out their 4G network cheaply and quickly by piggybacking on a network that was already being built out, but it never really worked out. I've had a 4G handset for the last 18+ months and almost never get 4G coverage even though I live in a launch market (hell the store where I bought my phone doesn't have coverage). If it wasn't for the fact that Sprint is the only carrier to have SMS coverage in every part of my house there's no way I would have stayed with them. I'm on call 1 out of every 4 weeks, my previous solution was UMA with T-Mobile but the initial UMA for Android sucked horribly and it still left me with the fact that no home internet meant no coverage or way to connect into work which Sprint gives me with tethering.

Re:Except it doesn't matter (1)

YoopDaDum (1998474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40670895)

In all fairness LTE is more efficient than WiMAX for a given bandwidth and frequency, but it's not earth shattering. Let's say roughly a 15% gain (to be taken with a dash of salt, it's from memory).

The important point to understand when making a comparison is that it's not only the protocol used that matters, the bandwidth available and the frequency used have very important effects. In the case of WiMAX in the US, it's only been deployed in at high frequencies (2.6 GHz). The higher the frequency, the bigger the attenuation with distance, and hence the lower the reach. Getting a good coverage when you only have 2.6 GHz is a challenge, and that's what impaired WiMAX in many cases. What you'd rather do is use both a low band (700 or 800 MHz) for good coverage, with high bands (2.6 GHz for example) for capacity but only where it matters (to keep costs in check). The combination allows both good coverage and capacity, and will be quite common in LTE deployments. Verizon has started LTE deployments in 700 MHz, to get a good coverage quick. As subscribers increase, they will open higher bands (AWS in their case IIUC) to add capacity.

So keep an eye on the spectrum used when doing comparisons.

Far behind AT&T? (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668067)

As a current AT&T LTE phone owner living in a major city without LTE I wouldn't say Sprint is too far behind. I check weekly At&t's LTE rollout page, and just like usually they just don't seem to have any interest in even trying to compete with Verizon even in major metro areas. I stay with them solely because of company discount, but this waiting game is just a joke. If Sprint has any interest they can match or exceed AT&T's presence very quickly. Just like T-mobile, AT&T seems happy just to confuse customers with their their barely/almost/not quite 4G HSPA network, which sounds great on TV but in reality is just barely faster than the "old" 3G. I really thought the iPad LTE would encourage AT&T to get their shit together, but as usually they seem happy to drag their feet in coverage despite having piles of money and a competitor who seems to care about their rollout. I just wish I didn't hate Verizon for other reasons.

Re:Far behind AT&T? (2)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668291)

That's really encouraging that Sprint is not too far behind the worst carrier in the history of the world .

Re:Far behind AT&T? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40671999)

AT&T is a carrier? We weren't as effective at dropping them as they were at dropping us.

Re:Far behind AT&T? (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40673249)

Their plans are the very best, and my coverage is stellar.

Re:Far behind AT&T? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668339)

I've gotten upwards of 17-25Mbps down on T-mobile's HSPA+ network with my Galaxy Nexus. "4G" or not, that's fast enough for my mobile needs.

Re:Far behind AT&T? (1)

Glendale2x (210533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668345)

Verizon is probably the LTE leader at this point. I don't exactly live in a huge city (appx. 400k people) and Verizon turned up LTE here last October. Although I'm a Sprint user and while Sprint works fine here, the data speeds frequently leave much to be desired.

They (Sprint) did put together this interactive network upgrade map [sprint.com] that's interesting.

Re:Far behind AT&T? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40668423)

Also on Sprint. I get about 6-15MB down, about 1.5 up.

Can't complain at all.

Re:Far behind AT&T? (1)

Glendale2x (210533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40669301)

No Sprint Wimax for me though. I usually get around 300kbps down.

Re:Far behind AT&T? (1)

devleopard (317515) | more than 2 years ago | (#40670241)

I'm just north of Houston, in a major suburb. AT&T speeds are decent, not great. 2 years ago, I had an HTC Incredible from Verizon: just a hair slower than my iPhone 3G at the time (on AT&T). For the last couple of years, I've had Clear as a backup to my DSL connection. At times it's actually faster, but too much use and they cap to hideous speeds, so I only use in emergencies (or when traveling). I tried replacing with a Verizon LTE MiFi: speed was bad. Worse than bad. Worse than Clear when they cap. Worse than dial up. Really bad.

Maybe it's my location, but it's a lot easier to cancel a cellular contract than to cancel a lease or a mortgage. Have yet to try the AT&T LTE option.

Re:Far behind AT&T? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40739047)

Same situation here, in Austin. AT&T's 4G LTE works for me, though.

No Milwaukee :( (1)

scottv67 (731709) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668277)

"Actually, it's pronounced 'mill-e-wah-que' which is Algonquin for 'the good land.'"
...unless you are trying to use your 4G phone with Sprint. Then it's the not-so-good-land.

Re:No Milwaukee :( (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668713)

Ah, I see the problem. You didn't get the entire translation. It's actually Algonquin for "the good land for beer".

Re:No Milwaukee :( (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40669147)

Milwaukee was added to the fall 2012 Network Vision roadmap along with Cleveland back in April. We're technically third round but we'll be the first two third round cities and will be started before the later second round cities are finished.

Re:No Milwaukee :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40669363)

Ah, the beer, the cheese, the bratwurst, how I miss thee.

Sprint 4G LTE... (2)

nighthawk243 (2557486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668495)

Sprint: "Hey guys, we've picked up 4G... you should now have ISDN equivalent speeds instead of 56K-esque you had with our 3G!". Maybe I'm just bitter because of all the remote desktop sessions I have to do over those slow Sprint air cards. Just marginally more usable with LANDesk than 56K.

Re:Sprint 4G LTE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40671961)

You should have a qualified technician work on and fix your computer.

ISDN is 64-128k. Sprint's 3G averages about a megabit or so on average, and their current 4G offering is substantially faster.

wish they'd hurry up (1)

egburr (141740) | more than 2 years ago | (#40668507)

I wish they'd hurry up and get to my area. I love my Galaxy Nexus, but it's really irritating to have to pay the 4G surcharge when the 4G isn't even on the schedule to come to my area.

Sprint: The Future is Never (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 2 years ago | (#40671913)

Not to worry. Sprint will get it 40% rolled out to about 8-10 metro areas - most which today are in Texas, Missouri and Georgia. And then it will do what Sprint does best. Fail, screw it up and slowly kill it.

As a long time Sprint customer I can tell you that 3G is a zero point zero bps joke, WiMax never got rolled out and my 'area' isn't scheduled for LTE until the end of 2013 which in practice means a tiny sliver of coverage maybe sometime in 2014. I live in a metro area of over a million people in the second largest city of North Carolina.

Re:Sprint: The Future is Never (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40671981)

They should definitely do North Carolina before Atlanta. You've got a great point, and you should definitely keep up with it.

Verizon shouldn't be an option (1)

wytcld (179112) | more than 2 years ago | (#40672955)

Remember that Verizon is claiming in court that it has a free speech right to censor all Internet traffic across its networks [dottech.org] . That's right, their censorship of your free speech is their free speech. And corporations, of course, have stronger free speech rights than individuals. So claims Verizon. Before federal courts that sometimes think like that themselves.

Personally, I use Sprint's networks, but through Ting [ting.com] . Their 3G coverage is decent in the more populated parts of rural New England (that is larger towns: good, and not overburdended; truly rural: mostly lacking). And when I go into the big cities, WiMAX works fine from most locations (and where it doesn't due to local geography, 3G is okay). We have two Android phones, use the no-extra-charge tethering frequently, and run a total bill as low as $20 a month - as compared to, what, approaching $200 a month for the two phones if on Verizon's or Sprint's plans?

I was on Sprint for voice for many years before this. They were always good. Every customer service call I made to them was well handled. I've only gone to Ting because for our usage patterns (limited voice, no texting, Internet by phone for e-mail and static web pages - our streaming needs are met by DSL at home) result in such huge savings there, while still giving us phones we can tether from.

Too late (2)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 2 years ago | (#40673471)

I already left sprint for Straight Talk. $45/month with a Palm Pre 3 and 4G.

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