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Sprint's 'Spark' LTE Upgrades Go Live in Chicago
by Karl Bode 06:05PM Tuesday Dec 10 2013
Sprint today announced that the company's faster "Spark" LTE upgrades have gone live in Chicago. Last month Sprint announced they'd be combining 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. In an announcement, Sprint now says that these so-called "Spark" upgrades have now gone live in the Chicago area.

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Sprint intends to use aggregation technology in the 2.5 GHz band to deploy Spark, which will only work on Sprint's lineup of tri-band phones including the HTC One max, LG G2, Samsung Galaxy Mega and Samsung Galaxy S4 mini.

“Sprint’s investment in upgrading our network infrastructure has required a massive team of dedicated engineers and technicians to systematically install new, modern 3G and 4G LTE-capable equipment," said Bob Azzi, Sprint chief network officer.

"This process involved equipping Sprint cell towers in the Chicago area with state-of-the-art network technology. It took us more than a year to complete and, although there have been some service interruptions, we expect our customers will find the improved Sprint wireless experience worth it," said Azzi.

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. The added capacity and speed can't come too soon for Sprint, given they've fallen to last place in most of the major recent LTE network speed and reliability tests.

Local Chicago residents with tri-band devices can tell us if they're noticing much of a difference.

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xenophon

join:2007-09-17

Need a triband Spark phone

You need to have a new triband phone to take advantage of all the spectrum (most that came out in last moth).

Is interesting to see that in NYC, Sprint has recently (after Spark tuned on) passed ATT/VZW avg performance according to...
»www.netindex.com/download/4,115/···k/?tab=1

And that's before very many have Spark phones.
ZipZilla

join:2005-07-09
Ladson, SC

Re: Need a triband Spark phone

I'd be upset if I bought a brand new iPhone 5c or 5s and it could not utilize the new Sprint Spark network. Lousy planning.

JamesPC

join:2005-10-12
Orange, CA

Re: Need a triband Spark phone

said by ZipZilla:

I'd be upset if I bought a brand new iPhone 5c or 5s and it could not utilize the new Sprint Spark network. Lousy planning.

On apple's part, lets see if the next version even has it.
ZipZilla

join:2005-07-09
Ladson, SC

Re: Need a triband Spark phone

Of course there is no way to know for sure.

Verizon is rolling out a new LTE band and the 5S and 5C support it.

JamesPC

join:2005-10-12
Orange, CA

Re: Need a triband Spark phone

said by ZipZilla:

Of course there is no way to know for sure.

Verizon is rolling out a new LTE band and the 5S and 5C support it.

Agreed, but wouldn't this be apple's decision again. The networks let the device makers know way in advance, its up to the manufacture to do anything about it. I am also curious if the 40mhz verizon added of AWS band was something already supported or maybe technically easier to implement some how?
ZipZilla

join:2005-07-09
Ladson, SC

Re: Need a triband Spark phone

That's a good question. The VZW/AT&T/T-Mobile 5s/5c support 11 LTE bands. The Sprint model supports 13 bands.

I am surprised Apple didn't just add Sprint's bands to the Verizon iPhone, but I imagine there was some technical reason they didn't.

JamesPC

join:2005-10-12
Orange, CA

Re: Need a triband Spark phone

said by ZipZilla:

That's a good question. The VZW/AT&T/T-Mobile 5s/5c support 11 LTE bands. The Sprint model supports 13 bands.

I am surprised Apple didn't just add Sprint's bands to the Verizon iPhone, but I imagine there was some technical reason they didn't.

Exactly, why the sprint and verizon iphone would be different at all is odd to me.
ZipZilla

join:2005-07-09
Ladson, SC

Re: Need a triband Spark phone

Here's more info:

»www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

The Sprint iPhone 5s/5c adds LTE band 18 and band 26, but lacks band 41, part of the "Spark" service.

swintec
Premium,VIP
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
kudos:5
Reviews:
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·RapidVPS

Re: Need a triband Spark phone

said by ZipZilla:

The Sprint iPhone 5s/5c adds LTE band 18 and band 26, but lacks band 41, part of the "Spark" service.

Sprint does not have LTE on band 18...just 25, 26 and 41.
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ZipZilla

join:2005-07-09
Ladson, SC

Re: Need a triband Spark phone

Right. But the Sprint iPhone (because it also supports other carriers around the world) has band 18.
Sahrin

join:2004-05-15
Houston, TX
There's not a technical reason. The Nexus 5 supports 25 (of 42) LTE bands. Many of the 42 LTE bands overlap.

justsayin

@wideopenwest.com
You can always get a better phone.
SubaruBoy

join:2013-01-09
VZW and AT&T are just turning on LTE on AWS and PCS.. They aren't having to come up with a new name for upgrading their network, it has just been standard practice over the past couple of years, unlike Sprint...

Coverage

@comcast.net

Coverage?

Higher speeds, more capacity. But what will their coverage be like? That was always a problem for Sprint when I had them.
xenophon

join:2007-09-17

Re: Coverage?

Spark includes 800Mhz, so boosts coverage and indoor penetration.
nonymous
Premium
join:2003-09-08
Glendale, AZ

Re: Coverage?

Lte includes 800 also. International borders excluded for the time being.

bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL

Re: Coverage?

Also excludes Southernlinc coverage areas as well.

justme

@comcast.net

Re: Coverage?

said by bobjohnson:

Also excludes Southernlinc coverage areas as well.

Sprint has 14mhz of 800 spectrum 817-824/858-866mhz from the IDEn network »www.cellularmaps.com/nextel.shtml
SubaruBoy

join:2013-01-09
What... Are you serious... We don't get 800mhz from Sprint down here? This is where Sprint actually needs it.

bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL

Re: Coverage?

Nextel never owned any SMR spectrum in Georgia or Alabama. As far as I know Nextel only had coverage in Southernlinc areas from the roaming agreement with them

KA3SGM
- -... ...- -
Premium
join:2006-01-17
West Chester, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
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·Verizon FiOS
said by xenophon:

Spark includes 800Mhz, so boosts coverage and indoor penetration.

That's a myth, lower frequencies don't automatically guarantee building penetration.

The shorter wavelength of higher frequencies, have a tendency to "leak-in" better than low frequency ones.

It's based far more on the actual proximity to the cell site, than the frequency.

Unless you happen live in a tightly sealed, welded solid metal box(Faraday Cage)...
--
ROCK 'TIL SUNSET

tc1uscg

join:2005-03-09
Clinton Township, MI

1 recommendation

Re: Coverage?

Why does it take a hamop to point that out LOL.. 73's
GusHerb94

join:2011-11-04
Chicago, IL
kudos:1

With LTE 800

the LTE coverage will be right on par with AT&T in Chicago. (that means LTE signal pretty much EVERYWHERE including deep inside buildings and basements) and speeds should (hopefully) be right on par with Verizon after their deployment of AWS.
That's of course assuming you've upgraded to a Tri-band device.

XANAVirus
Premium
join:2012-03-03
Lavalette, WV

Triband phones and Nexus 5

I noticed the article lists several triband phones like the G2, GS4 mini, etc.

But, I was looking at the Nexus 5 and was wondering whether it supports the 3 bands that Spark uses or not.
WeKnSmith

join:2001-08-09
Noblesville, IN

1 recommendation

Re: Triband phones and Nexus 5

said by XANAVirus:

I noticed the article lists several triband phones like the G2, GS4 mini, etc.

But, I was looking at the Nexus 5 and was wondering whether it supports the 3 bands that Spark uses or not.

Yes, the Nexus 5 is a tri-band device. The G2 and Nexus 5 will not officially support Spark until a software update is released in early 2014.

The current tri-band devices according to Sprint's site include:

LG G2
Nexus 5
HTC One Max
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
Samsung Galaxy S4 Mega

Also, they just announced a soon to be re-released tri-band version of the Samsung Galaxy S4:

»newsroom.sprint.com/news-release···park.htm
criggs

join:2000-07-14
New York, NY

Re: Triband phones and Nexus 5

What about a Tri-Band Hotspot?
WeKnSmith

join:2001-08-09
Noblesville, IN

1 edit

Re: Triband phones and Nexus 5

Good catch. I had only listed the phones. The hotspot/modem list on Sprint's site currently includes the following tri-band devices:

Netgear 341 USB Modem
Netgear Zing Hotspot
Novatel MiFi 500 LTE Hotspot

{edited to clarify that devices are tri-band}
criggs

join:2000-07-14
New York, NY

Re: Triband phones and Nexus 5

And those are all tri-band?

Nexus 5 Chi

@clearwire-wmx.net
Its pretty easy to enable all three bands on a nexus 5 right now.

»forum.xda-developers.com/showthr···=2530061
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Coverage still sucks

No matter how fast their network is, their coverage still sucks.