After several years of waiting for the carrier to be able to compete with others within the local market, Sprint Communications has activated 4G LTE Service on the tower located at the corner of Johnson and H St.
Sprint, which was once able to boast they were first in the 4G market gambled on WiMAX which was in use by the Clearwire company. Shortly after a large investment in first generation 4G rival carriers made the choice to use the LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard of 4G. WiMAX is still in use in some markets, however LTE is capable of providing higher data speeds.
Other cellular carriers were able promote themselves for several years (accurately) that they were faster and provided better coverage. These changes, along with a shrinking data and voice footprint as network maintenance and upgrades slowed caused a decline in customers for Sprint, who as of this time is still struggling to remain competitive. T-Mobile also has recently began upgrading it’s network to the LTE technology and has been able to accomplish the roll out faster than Sprint. This was due to T-Mobile having more fiber lines in place to handle data backhaul.
The outbreak of data hungry smartphones has also been a major problem for Sprint. Sprints available spectrum didn’t help make data speeds better and limited network availability. Sprint has managed to combat this through the shutdown of the Nextel network, which had rich assets in the 800Mhz spectrum range. Sprint announced Network Vision, it’s plan to rebuild and overhaul it’s aging infrastructure. The roll out of this plan has been slower than expected causing customers with the newest devices being unable to exploit the enhancements available on their new phones.
To help stay competitive Sprint continues to offer unlimited data plans. These plans have become more and more popular as both Verizon and AT&T have instituted limits on their customers for data consumption. Smartphone applications and social networking have strained their networks and to ensure quality of service. Sprint is taking a gamble on restructuring their network to use the free spectrum in their closed 800Mhz assets from Nextel to handle the voice load and improve coverage inside buildings.
There is no word from Sprint on when the upgrades will be complete or which areas will support the upgraded network in the future.