Android Central

Sparks start to fly in six new markets

In addition to rolling out new Framily Plans today Sprint has also announced that they will be expanding the Spark network to six new markets. Spark is what Sprint has dubbed their tri-band LTE technology, and at launch the service was only available in five markets. With most of the coverage expansion taking place in Texas, Sprint has announced that Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio will all be covered, as well as Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

With speeds of 50 - 60 Mbps, Sprint boasts that they are prepared to support the next generation of online gaming, advanced cloud services and any other application that requires the use of high bandwidth. By the end of 2014 Sprint hopes to have over 100 million customers covered by the service, and over the course of the next three years Sprint hopes to be able to expand Spark to over 100 major cities.

Sprint is currently well behind the competition in terms of the roll out, but hopefully they are able to learn from the other carriers mishaps and ensure that they are properly prepared each step of the way.

Sprint Spark speeds coming to Virgin Mobile USA’s Broadband2Go customers with NETGEAR® Mingle™ Mobile Hotspot, the first U.S. tri-band device designed for no-contract customers

LG G Flex, the world’s first curved, flexible smartphone,
joins growing number of Sprint Spark-enabled smartphones

LAS VEGAS (BUSINESS WIRE), January 07, 2014 - Proving that everything really is bigger in Texas, the “Big D” now enjoys the impressive network speeds of Sprint SparkTM. In addition to Dallas, Sprint today announced the availability of Sprint Spark in Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio as well as Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Sprint Spark is a powerful network capability that delivers enhanced wireless peak data speeds of up to 50 – 60 Mbps and supports a new generation of online gaming, virtual reality, advanced cloud services and other applications requiring high bandwidth.


Sprint Spark is now available in the following 11 markets:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York                    
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Tampa, Fla.

“Sprint Spark is all about performance,” said Stephen Bye, chief technology officer for Sprint. “When we bring Sprint Spark into a market, it is like trading up to the fastest sports car on the showroom floor. I am excited to see where we will take this technology in 2014 because I know we are bringing our customers an unprecedented network experience.”

These amazing speeds are possible because of the rollout of Sprint’s Network Vision program, a complete upgrade of the 3G network and deployment of 4G LTE, which also benefits Sprint’s no-contract brands Boost Mobile, payLo and Virgin Mobile USA. As part of that program, Sprint is redeploying its 800MHz spectrum for LTE and 3G, delivering improved in-building coverage for voice and data. Sprint expects the rollout of Network Vision to be largely complete by mid-2014.

Sprint plans to deploy Sprint Spark in about 100 of America’s largest cities during the next three years. By the end of this year, 100 million Americans are expected to have Sprint Spark coverage.

Sprint Spark Speeds on Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go
Building on Network Vision’s multimode capability, Sprint Spark is designed to accommodate all of Sprint’s spectrum bands on a single device. These tri-band enhanced LTE smartphones give users the best experience by transparently shifting from one band to another, depending on such factors as location or type of application.

NETGEAR® Mingle™ Mobile Hotspot will be the first tri-band device available for prepaid customers in the United States. It will be available this quarter on Virgin Mobile’s competitive Broadband2Go no-contract plans, which include daily service on Sprint’s 3G/4G LTE networks (where available) for $5/day. Broadband2Go also offers monthly data plans for $25 with 1.5GB or $55 with 6GB.

Mingle lets you take Wi-Fi with you, accommodating up to 10 wireless devices simultaneously. It is a dual-mode 3G/4G LTE device, providing up to 12.5 hours active time (1,800mAh battery) and featuring secure access with password protection, plus a 1.77-inch LCD display screen.

Next Wave of Postpaid Sprint Spark Devices Debut
Announced at the end of 2013, LG G2 will become tri-band enabled through a software update later this month. Nexus 5 by LG and the following two devices will soon join the initial group of Sprint Spark-enabled devices:
LG G Flex is the world’s first curved, flexible smartphone and the first device that is curved to follow the contour of the face. Unique to Sprint, G Flex will take advantage of the Sprint Spark network. G Flex helps to deliver a more immersive, cinematic experience, with the result being the most comfortable viewing angle for watching videos or playing games. Setting a new milestone in the evolution of the smartphone, G Flex reduces the distance between one’s mouth to the microphone when the device is held against the ear. The curved design also offers a more reassuring grip and fits more comfortably in one’s back pocket or jacket. G Flex also comes equipped with a 3,500mAh battery and offers up to 29 hours of talk time. For more information, please visit www.sprint.com/lggflex.

NETGEAR LTE Gateway 6100D will bring the benefit of Sprint Spark’s improved in-building coverage to business and enterprise customers as Sprint Spark continues to roll-out. It is a fixed wireless router designed to bring high data bandwidth and 24/7 connectivity to fit any business need. This device is the perfect solution to back up primary service to avoid outages or to replace primary Internet service in the office because it can connect up to 80 Wi-Fi users while using the high-speed capabilities of Sprint Spark. It comes preloaded with many powerful enterprise features, including Power over Ethernet, WAN to WWAN failover, TR-069 remote management, advanced Wi-Fi encryption and VPN capability.

Additional information for both devices, including specs, pricing and availability, will be shared at a later date. Sprint currently offers six Sprint Spark-capable devices, including Samsung Galaxy MEGA™, HTC One® max, and NETGEAR® Zing Mobile Hotspot™.

Customers with Sprint Spark-enabled devices can select the new Sprint Framily Plan – a revolutionary pricing program that lets consumers decide who they consider family. The Sprint Framily Plan is available to new and existing customers. The more people added to the group, up to 10 phone lines, the greater the savings for everyone on the plan. And because each account can be billed separately, customers can choose who is in their group.

For one line of service, new Sprint customers pay $55 per month per line for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data. For each additional new Sprint customer who joins the Framily group, the cost per person goes down $5 a month up to a maximum monthly discount of $30 per line. Build a group of at least seven people and everyone gets unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data for $25 per month per line (pricing excludes taxes and surcharges). All members of the group can customize their plan to meet their unique needs. For only $20 per month per line, Framily members can buy up to unlimited data plus get a new phone every year. Plan members can share the savings, without the hassle of sharing a bill. Each account can be billed separately. Unlimited features are while on the Sprint network.

For details on Sprint’s 4G LTE rebuild and rollout, go to www.sprint.com/network. For 4G LTE maps, visit www.sprint.com/coverage. Customers, consumers and members of the media are encouraged to check back regularly as all maps will be updated and revised as the network’s coverage expands.


About Sprint                     
Sprint (NYSE:S) offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint served more than 54 million customers at the end of the third quarter of 2013 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint as the most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all 47 industries, during the last five years. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

 

Reader comments

Sprint adds six new Spark markets

74 Comments

I've got the HTC One Max and I've been pulling 50+mbps here in Houston. I'm wondering if they're announcing it because it's partially available or if the rollout here is considered complete. I hope it's not the latter.

Probably the former. Sprint usually announces availability around 50% complete for the market.

Posted via Android Central App

I was wondering the same thing. Considering it was one of the first markets to get both WiMax and LTE, I'm surprised Boston isn't a top priority for Sprint.

The coverage is pretty good at the moment, it's just building penetration that is bad. Maybe they're running behind on repurposing the iDen network here.

Posted via Android Central App

Or Sprint could finish upgrading their LTE markets...but it is good to see them moving forward in speeds and technology either way.

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I'm keeping Sprint though, because I have unlimited data for my phone and a 2gb data plan for my iPad mini (21mbps) all for ~$100/month. This speed, of course, is ONLY when I have LTE.

Posted via the Android Central App on my Nexus 5

So for those of us who have manually enabled tri-band on this device, will the update provide faster download speeds or is this as good as it gets?

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What device do you have? if you have a tri-band device, all you need is your MSL, dial *#*#DATA#*#*, select LTE and change band priority so it'll scan for the other bands too. Of course this is what I did for my Nexus 5. Could be different on other devices.

Same for the LG g2.but all it does is open those bands. I don't think I have seen any spark even if I'm suppose to be in a spark area in Sprint's map. But my speed are great now with regular Lte.

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Can someone with a Spark compatible tri-band LTE phone share what city they live in, and what speeds they are getting?

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Impressive!!! Any other Sprint Spark testimonies? 100 million Americans covered in ONE year, not impressed with this rollout! What's going on with this $20bln that Softbank is investing in Sprint???

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

There is actually 2 phases in Sprint's Network Vision project. 1st phase is to rollout LTE in 1900 MHz. Phase 2 is rolling out LTE in 800MHz and 2500MHz. What most people don't know is that Spark refers to LTE 2500. That's the band you want in order to get those 60 - 70 mbps. I was fortunate enough to live near WiMAX towers that have been converted to LTE 2500 sites.

I thought Spark means LTE on 3 bands? 800/1900/2500?

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Technically that is true but you can't get 60-70 mbps on LTE 800 or 1900MHz. Only on LTE 2500 can you achieve those speeds. so Spark = LTE 2500.

Ahh. . .fastest I've ever gotten on T-Mobile LTE is 40.7mbps. But average is more like 15-30mbps, I live near downtown Waterbury, Ct, and get 3-4 bars. Sometime this year their suppose to up the spectrum even more, the spectrum they got from MetroPCS, so hopefully where I live will be one of the places included in the increased soectrum.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

Sprint is also planning to up the spectrum (specifically 2500) to increase peak speeds. Given the amount of spectrum they have (thanks to the Clearwire purchase), they could go from 70 mbps to 168 mbps. Increase it even more and it's possible to get near 1 Gbps speeds.

Unfortunately I have no way in knowing when those kinds of crazy speeds will arrive. First, Sprint has to worry about finishing their LTE rollout/upgrades first (probably be done around 2015). After that, we'll see.

Well, my S4 won't be fully paid off with T-Mobile until April 2015,...so we'll see. Since T-Mobile and Sprint are the ONLY national carriers remaining with unlimited data, they are my only options. I actually USE my smartphone, I'm not one of those 2GB/mo woosies! Exciting times we live in, the days of 600-800kbps, with the rare bursts of 1mbps are by far a thing of the past, so yayyy to that!!!

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

I actually wasted 50GB last month (lots of HD Netflix/Youtube, ROMs, etc) so yeah, I know what you mean. NO TIERED PLAN CAN HOLD ME!!

I know plenty well that LTE can handle tons, and tons of data before suffering with slower speeds! ATT & Vzn are full of themselves!!!

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

I was amazed by the speeds LTE dishes out and this is from someone who recently joined the LTE bandwagon (I had an Epic 4G Touch (WiMAX) before switching to an Nexus 5 last month).

That's exactly what I get. On average I get 18 to 20. The other day I got 40.2 on my Note 2. I'm sure phones like the nexus 5 will get higher averaged speeds. On my Sprint phone the fastest I got was around 32mbps one time. It hasn't gone over 15mbps since that day.

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That is amazing. I really want to see the speeds on spark in a big city and try it inside a building. Those with the nexus 5 I'm sure are loving it.

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I'm pulling low to mid 50's from inside my work's building. I've been pulling 40's around Houston these past few weeks and last night everything got faster. No joke. I saw it blast up to 70mbps and settle near almost 60 last night.

Its a number that u call and than a small number comes out in the bottum i did it and worked but i forget the number and it doesnt call anyone

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Has it been switched on? Because I haven't seen the spark animation on my phone like Phil showed a bit ago. Oh and by the way I'm in Houston and I'm showing 25Mbps down as of right now

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I'm in Houston as well with a one max. Did you have to do the dialer trick to search for the new bands? If so, how did you do it?

I just do it to torture now...

Still, do you want Dish Mobile?

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sent from my DROID Eris, made by Nokia, powered by iOS 7 via BBM

No. I hate dish so passionately. I'd rather see Verizon and Apple merge and buy T-Mobile.

Posted from my Nexus 7(2013).

Maybe eventually I can get over 100K? I mean if Sprint is promising some over 50megs, maybe we can get 1? Nah. Anybody who believes Sprint promises needs to have his head examined.

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I've actually have gotten those speeds here in San Bernardino, CA. Some of the WiMax towers here have been upgraded to Spark towers so I've gotten speeds around 60 - 70 mbps (i took screenshots as well in case you dont believe me). So for that matter, Sprint seems to be keeping their promise.

I know right. At this rate the cubs will win a world series long before Sprint is done.
You may have it bad, but I have great lte

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sent from my DROID Eris, made by Nokia, powered by iOS 7 via BBM

As much so I wanted to stay with sprint I just couldn't use my phone at all. Even on LTE my phone was just too slow. Luckily I still have a sprint account with an open line just in case they get their stuff together. But so far I'm loving hspa+ speeds of over 8mbps and average LTE speed of 18-20mbps on tmobile.

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I hate sprint.. Been paying premium for LTE for years and still haven't seen any LTE... Number one reason to switch to T-Mobile

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To be fair:

The fee isn't for LTE, it started with WiMax (4G) and was later changed to something like "advanced device data fee". And the fee is for WiMax and LTE Devices.

Still, the $10 a month and you still have unlimited data (when you can actually connect) is cheaper than ATT and VZW charges. Plus I'm sure you have access to discounts off the base plan amount.

The $10 Premium Data fee is, unfortunately, for any smartphone. It wasn't added automatically, but the system applies it if you swap to a smartphone. The newer plans don't have this fee (but may be more expensive overall).

Does this spark rollout mean that those of us without LTE will not get it until they decide to roll spark out to us 3 years from now? Already been 2 years with an LTE phone and no LTE....looks like time to change carriers.

I'm in San Antonio and have a Nexus 5. I enabled the extra bands. Don't see a difference yet. Hopefully it will work soon.

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I doubt the S3 is. The S4 was actually re-released recently with a new chip and Spark support, because the orginal S4 released didn't support it.

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The "spark" portion of Sprint Spark comes from the 2500 Mhz band. 2500 Mhz, by it's nature, has a smaller area footprint than 1900 or 800 Mhz. So densely populated areas will be getting Spark first, where it will cover more people with the fewest actual tower upgrades.