Sprint today announced and demonstrated "Sprint Spark," a technology that effectively combines the company's 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz LTE spectrum to provide what Sprint promises will be real-world downstream speeds of 50-60 Mbps. According to a Sprint announcement
, the company was today able to demonstrate wireless speeds up to 1 Gbps -- albeit in lab conditions.
Sprint intends to use aggregation technology in the 2.5 GHz band to deploy Spark, which will only work on Sprint's looming lineup of tri-band phones including the HTC One max, LG G2, Samsung Galaxy Mega and Samsung Galaxy S4 mini (all four are expected in early to mid November).
Starting today, Sprint is making Spark available (with "limited availability") in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa and Miami. Sprint says they'll deploy Spark in about 100 of the nation's biggest cities in the next three years, with about 100 million Americans having access to Sprint Spark or 2.5 GHz coverage by the end of 2014.
"Sprint Spark is a combination of advanced capabilities, like 1x, 2x and 3x carrier aggregation for speed, 8T8R for coverage, MIMO for capacity, TDD for spectral efficiency, together with the most advanced devices offering both tri-band capability and high-definition voice for the best possible customer experience,” said Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint.
Sprint needs all the LTE help they can get.
The company is currently lagging all three of their major competitors in terms of LTE coverage. Numerous studies have also shown that Sprint significantly trails the other three carriers in terms of speeds provided via LTE, something that's not bound to be helped by Verizon's deployment of wider 2x20MHz channels
and T-Mobile's deployment of 2x10MHz channels
. While SoftBank's acquisition of the company should help immeasurably, at the moment's Sprint's struggling to keep pace.
Sprint's news release
offers up some additional technical detail for those interested.