Sprint LTE Network Slowly Expands - InformationWeek
10:46 AM

Sprint LTE Network Slowly Expands

Sprint launched its LTE 4G network in 34 new markets Monday, but the company's mobile broadband still trails AT&T and Verizon significantly.

Samsung's New Gadgets: Visual Tour
Samsung's New Gadgets: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view)
Sprint announced that its LTE 4G network is now available in 185 markets around the country, including 34 markets that went live this month. Sprint plans to provide about 200 million users with LTE service by the end of the year, but the company didn't say just how far along it is in meeting that goal.

Many of the new markets Sprint named on Monday are smaller cities and towns, such as Bedford, Pa.; Lake Charles, La.; and Lufkin, Texas. Though Sprint's LTE network is present in some of the country's largest markets, including Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles, it has yet to fully reach important markets like New York City. Sprint offers LTE in Brooklyn and the Bronx, but not Queens, Manhattan or Staten Island.

Sprint's LTE build-out continues to expand, but the company can't match its competitors' 4G networks.

[ Google's new 4G Nexus 7 tablet comes with a free month of T-Mobile data. Read Google Intros LTE Nexus 7 With Free Data. ]

Verizon Wireless leads in overall LTE coverage. Its LTE service is available in more than 400 markets, covering more than 300 million users. Verizon has completed building its LTE network. AT&T's LTE network isn't too far behind Verizon's; as of last week, AT&T said, its 4G LTE network covers nearly 240 million people. AT&T will meet its target to cover 270 million users in more than 400 markets by the end of the year. The company believes its LTE 4G build-out will be functionally complete by the summer of 2014, when it will cover 300 million people.

T-Mobile and Sprint are essentially neck-and-neck. T-Mobile recently announced that its LTE network covers 180 million users across 154 markets. T-Mobile said it is on target to meets its LTE build-out goal -- more than 200 million users covered -- by the end of the year.

Sprint is moving more slowly than AT&T and Verizon, thanks to a messy spectrum position. The company has been deploying LTE 4G in its PCS spectrum (1900 MHz) alongside its 3G network, and there is limited bandwidth in that slice of airwaves. The company had to wait until June 30 to turn off its iDEN network, which operated in the 800-MHz band, and it is in the process of refarming that spectrum. Sprint only recently came into full control of the former Clearwire's 2.5-GHz spectrum. With the iDEN network off and the Clearwire spectrum in hand, Sprint will now be able to move much more quickly with its LTE 4G plans.

Despite the more limited scale of its LTE 4G network, Sprint offers unlimited data on its 4G smartphones.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
9/16/2013 | 8:19:20 PM
re: Sprint LTE Network Slowly Expands
There's some bad code in this article: "Verizon has effectivejavascript:iw_wizard_doFinish()ly completed building its LTE network. "
User Rank: Apprentice
9/16/2013 | 5:47:59 PM
re: Sprint LTE Network Slowly Expands
How is Sprint still in Business? They offer LTE phones that you have to pay a premium for and they don't have a functional LTE network. Unlimited is useless when you have such poor service.
User Rank: Apprentice
9/16/2013 | 4:48:42 PM
re: Sprint LTE Network Slowly Expands
Eric, can you name the "34 new markets" or point to a current Sprint 4G LTE coverage map?? ....guess I will have to google it on my own. Thank you for this article and the update.
2017 State of IT Report
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends for 2018
As we enter a new year of technology planning, find out about the hot technologies organizations are using to advance their businesses and where the experts say IT is heading.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll