Sprint: LTE Coming Soon to 21 New Markets
Numerous Launches, Including San Francisco, 'in the Coming Months'
by Karl Bode 04:45PM Friday Oct 12 2012 Tipped by FFH
Sprint today announced
that the company is preparing to launch LTE services in an additional 21 markets "in the coming months." During the recent launch of the iPhone 5 Sprint proclaimed
that they'd be launching LTE in at least a hundred more markets before the end of the year, hoping to downplay their currently skimpy LTE coverage. More attention has been brought to their small LTE footprint lately after a study proclaimed that their LTE maps are essentially totally fantasy
Sprint's more than a little aware of their shortcomings as they scramble to catch up with LTE deployments from AT&T and Verizon. The company may have received quite a boon in terms of funding LTE deployment this week when it was revealed they're in talks to be acquired by Japanese wireless carrier SoftBank
. They'd certainly fare better if they stopped saying
they will be launching markets -- and actually launch some major markets.
This upcoming batch of markets is once again predominately small, though it also includes San Francisco -- or at least a few small parts of San Francisco. The full list of launch cities:
San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.; Cape Coral-Ft Meyers, Fla.; Dyersburg-Union City-Martin, Tenn.; Emporia, Kan.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greenwood, Miss.; Joplin, Mo.; Kokomo, Ind., Lafayette/West Lafayette, Ind; Lexington Park, Md.; Marion, Ind.; Napa, Calif., Naples-Marco Island, Fla.; Ottawa-Streator, Ill., Punta Gorda, Fla.; Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Calif., Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.; Sebring, Fla., South Bend-Mishawaka, Ind.; Terre Haute, Ind.; Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.; and Warsaw, Ind.
Sprint had previously promised a significant number of major market launches (including New York, Boston and Washington DC) would arrive before the end of the year.
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
| I think Chicago has on the order of 1000 Sprint cell sites. Maybe more. Getting all of them up to Network Vision specs takes time, even if you're going at a decent pace.|
If you're about to compare with AT&T or Verizon's LTE rollouts, don't. In both cases, the carriers are using 700MHz spectrum, which means that a market can be largely complete with 20% of the site count of PCS, albeit with less capacity overall.
Smaller communities around these big deployments benefit from Sprint's rollout though. Sprint is pushing LTE to every (okay, 99.9%) site in its network, including rural ones. AT&T and Verizon have thusfar concentrated on cities, plopping down enough LTE to cover urban areas and maybe suburbs. Rural areas might get a signal if it bleeds over.
To be honest, Sprint's LTE rollout will be slower than AT&T or Verizon or even T-Mobile's for this reason, as well as because there are a lot of Sprint sites that need new backhaul to do 4G. The same could be said of Verizon and AT&T in a fair number of cases, but those two carriers have less sites to deal with. I'd say that T-Mobile is the one to watch to see how quickly they deploy LTE, but they'll likely do so faster than Sprint because their network is newer (more hardware that's already LTE capable) and anywhere that has HSPA+ capable backhaul can do LTE over that same backhaul.
Speaking of T-Mobile, how good is their network in ROC?
| |EricthornIt only hurts when I laughPremiumReviews:
Sprint, don't drop unlimited.. Greenwood, MS, pop about 15k, gets LTE, while my town, pop 26k, can't even get 4G and we're only 25 miles from a town that has it. AT&T is the only one with 4G here, and Sprint and Verizon have no plans currently to upgrade here. While I don't want to sell my soul to the devil, if Sprint raises fees in any way that's just what we'll be doing.
Ever try stuffing a melted marshmallow up a wildcat's ass? It can be done, but you have to like your job. - This Is The Way The World Ends by James Morrow - Join a DC club, it can't hurt you!
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
Re: how fast is Sprint's lte where it is? With good signal strength on an unloaded network, 30+ Mbps down and 10+ Mbps up (I've seen 32M down, 12M up and 30ms latency in Fort Worth). Realistic speeds with good signal and a loaded network will be 10-20 Mbps down and 5Mbps up or so. Sprint advertises 6-8 Mbps down, 2-3 Mbps up.
I live practically under a Sprint cell site now (maybe 1000 feet away from a rooftop Sprint site to the north, and 1000 feet away from a Clearwire site to the east), so I'm guessing that my speeds will be in the 20-30 Mbps range down and 5-15 Mbps up once that site gets upgraded (and things should stay that way for awhile). By contrast, my VZW iPad now hovers in the 9-11 Mbps range down, with 10-18 Mbps up due to wider channels and asymmetric usage patterns. T-Mobile, last I checked, is EDGE-only in my apartment, but gets around 17 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up a couple hundred feet away, though they may have overlaid my serving cell with PCS H+ since I tested last so coverage may be better.
Short answer: Sprint won't have the top speed of AT&T or Verizon in markets where they have 10x10 LTE markets (every one for Verizon, a fair number for AT&T). Nor will it beat T-Mobile LTE when that comes out (TMo will be 10x100 now, 20x20 later). However Sprint will beat out T-Mobile DC-HSPA+ in half the spectrum, and as AT&T and Verizon get loaded down (particularly in 5x5 LTE markets for AT&T) Sprint's speeds will maintain consistency.
Re: how fast is Sprint's lte where it is?
said by iansltx:However Sprint has half the users and higher density of sites in some areas so may be about same avg performance when LTE use exceeds 3G. And Sprint will be adding more spectrum later so wont have major capacity issues as usage ramps up.
Short answer: Sprint won't have the top speed of AT&T or Verizon in markets where they have 10x10 LTE markets (every one for Verizon, a fair number for AT&T).