Sprint HTC One Max

A step in the right direction for Sprint coverage and data speeds

When Sprint first launched its Spark LTE technology earlier this month, our curiosity was piqued. Utilizing 800MHz, 1.9GHz and 2.5GHz frequencies, supported devices would be capable of reaching speeds of up to 60 Mbps in any of the five rollout markets, including New York, LA, Chicago, Miami and Tampa. With the carrier’s god awful 3G speeds and bumpy initial LTE rollout, the promise of being the fastest network in five of the largest consumer markets in the country seemed too good to be true.

Unfortunately, at least for now, it is.

We’ve had a chance to test Sprint’s Spark here in New York City, and we can confidently say that theoretical speeds are still theoretical. For the past few days I’ve been carrying the HTC One max with me throughout Manhattan, and have been running speed tests in a handful of neighborhoods both uptown and downtown. Downloads seem to have averaged around 8 Mbps, regardless of where the test was being conducted, while uploads seem largely stuck below 4 Mbps. I did manage to pull nearly 20 Mbps, though that required a full five bars and a healthy dose of luck.

Sprint Spark Speed Tests

Spark is by no means worthless, though – I noticed great coverage on most of my jaunts throughout the city, and Spark managed to keep a relatively reliable signal even in some of Verizon’s darkest dead zones. If nothing else, Sprint has at least given its LTE network the jolt it needs to be on par with the competition – these speeds are above what Verizon LTE has been serving up, and on par with T-Mobile. In New York City, AT&T is the only network with a clear advantage over Sprint.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on Spark (it’s hard not to with that damn pinwheel), but for now, don’t let the marketing hype get in the way of the facts: the potential is there, but don’t expect anything out of the ordinary just yet.

 

Reader comments

Sprint Spark: theoretical speeds are theoretical

166 Comments

Even here in Phoenix with not a lot of people using Sprint they have slow data speeds. I had high hopes for this version. I hope it still ends up getting better for them. They have earned some time in the sun I would say.

where??? because here in N. Scottsdale my data speeds aren't bad -- and the best LTE I've found so far was north of PV Mall

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There are almost 1.5 million people in Phoenix proper. How in the world do you know how many people are or aren't using Sprint?

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A better idea: why don't you just post the "stats" that show how exactly many Sprint users there are in Phoenix?

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I've been around people with Sprint here in the valley and it's always been hit or miss. We were in Laveen a few weeks ago and some of the people with Sprint (I was in a crowd of about 15 people) had no service at all while others were doing ok. Same thing with downtown Phoenix.

The fact they fail to mention is that sprint spark won't start for about 3 months, they're seeing up micro towers all over NYC for now witch will have the 2.5/2.6 GHz tdd-lte, I believe that they'll also have backhaul & boost the 800 MHz lte too.

Yea.. I was wondering that too. It's not supposed to be launched yet from what I read.

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Sorry to cut in, but I can't post anything unless it's a reply maybe a bug... OK, how can you test sprint spark of sprint spark is not active yet? While sprint does use 800 & 1900 mhz, only 1900 MHz is used for lte right now while the 800 MHz is used only for voice & HD voice. The 2600 MHz won't be activated until about 3 more months/also the 800 MHz will be used for lte too at the same time. So your basically reviewing a an object that still isn't released. Kind of like reviewing the nexus 5 before it's released to the public... My regular 1900 MHz lte is great because NYC is basically suburban & the frequency is excellent for many people to use in concentration without congestion. 4 sprint towers for every 1 tower Verizon has up, plus when they're all network vision, multimode it'll be very good. I get on average of 15/25 MBS download & 8/15 MBS upload. even in places where Verizon nor T-Mobile can get signal thanks to sprints dense cell network towers

It was posted on S4GRU that most people on Spark are connecting to the 800mhz spectrum instead of band 41 which is the 2.5ghz Clear spectrum where the high speeds live. Apparently it has to do with a network band priority setting on the phone and there is a way to change it so band 41 gets top priority. Some who have been able to connect to band 41 saw speeds of 50 - 60mbps. Sprint is still pushing updates to some Spark phones which is why some are not connecting to the correct band. Were you connected to band 41?

Right! I used to get faster and better data service on Sprint 2G than I did on 3G. I would keep praying it would drop down to 2G so I could at least get some data through!

Real-world coverage maps show an entirely different story. But don't let reality get in the way of your blind devotion.

Uh huh... is that why T-Mobile service where I live completely blows away Sprint? Yea maybe Sprint service doesn't suck for you, but that doesn't mean it is like that for the entire rest of the country.

Where did he say anything about his experiences on either service? He merely said to look at coverage map, which is a heck of a lot more useful than anecdotal "evidence".

Why does my coverage map say excellent Sprint LTE service, when I can only get a middling signal and pretty slow speeds?

Coverage maps are as useless as the anecdotal experience of Internet commenters. 

Yep!! Just because service sucks for someone in one place doesn't mean it sucks for someone in another. Sorry, while T Mobile is solid on it's speed it's coverage isn't great here once you get out of San Antonio. Sprint has the one up when it comes to rural areas. Small towns like Boerne, Bandera etc have LTE now. If only Sprint's 3G wasn't so terribad.

So is that why if you go about 20 miles outside of most major metropolitan cities on T-Mobile, coverage drops to 2G/EDGE practically everywhere?

Wow sprints network is really a joke I got faster speeds then that even before tmobile deployed lte in my town with hspa+ . And that spark icon.... Really ? Great way to eat battery, lie to you about what connection you really have and all around just be distracting as all hell. Sprint is going to be #4 very soon

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The word "troll" is so loosely used, just like the word "racist" so loosely used, it looses meaning. I have Tmo, and their HSPA+ has always been better than Sprint's LTE, that is a fact, not being a "troll" as some of you so loosely say.

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Is that what you get in Manhattan? If not, you're experience can't be compared. I'm happy to see a stronger Sprint in NY. Maybe it will force Verizon and AT&T to fix the congested spots here.

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I'm in LA. And I will say that when I get LTE, their coverage is fantastic. Speeds are great and the signal is reliable.

When I *don't* get LTE, I am horribly frustrated by their crappy 3G. So I look forward to anything that will let me have more LTE.

That is terrible 3g. Switch to another carrier and you will see how bad that really is. In Houston my 3g is around 5mbps and LTE is around 10-20 Mbps. Even with 1 bar on LTE I get 5 Mbps.

I get a consistant 5 mbps or more on 1 bar with T-mobile inside my apartment on HSPA+ or LTE.
With T-mobile my bars are often low, but I very rarely lose signal completely.
still T-mobile on 1 bar is over 5x faster than Sprint is around here.
Of course we've only got 3G on sprint.
With full bars like in my office, I get 22 down and 9 up :)

That's pretty terrible 3G speeds. Verizon 3G was bad and I could usually get at least 1 down.

It's almost 2014, speeds like that anywhere, on any network shouldn't even exist!!!

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These speeds aren't any better than
their standard LTE... What's up with that? In fact I'm guessing it's during a very congestive time, but isn't that the while point of spark? To unburden the other frequencies?

I think the biggest point in reality is building penetration with 800Mhz LTE.
As always Sprint's claims are far more than they can deliver.

Spark was never about improving LTE speeds per se, but about more consistent LTE coverage and less saturation. 800mhz has a lot better building penetration, and 2500 is just about them refarming old Clear spectrum.

Supporting LTE on three different bands allows them to better manage the network and gives you a better shot at a strong signal. The higher frequency bands have better reach than the lower ones which plays into number/location of per area etc.

Personally I've seen tremendous improvements by Sprint in my market, I still bought a Nexus 5 to give myself an out once my Sprint contract ends (summer) but I might just stay... The 23% discount I currently enjoy makes unlimited tough to beat for $64.

It's worth noting that they have a little advertised no contract plan for $60, fully unlimited (on minutes even), perfect for the Nexus 5.

I agree about the improvements. 6 Months ago, I was counting the days until I could switch to another carrier, because honestly their 3G coverage in my area is useless. But then LTE started coming online and it's a new world. On a side note, I just picked up a Nexus 5 to replace my Evo LTE, and I'm seeing much better LTE coverage.

Spark is just LTE available on multiple bands. Sprint needs carrier aggregation to up the speeds (i.e., use all those bands at once for higher bandwidth).

Spark on cell phones is really just Band 41. I'd bet dollars to donuts that these speed tests were not done on band 41. Band 25 has a theoretical limit of 37.5 Mbps. Band 41 is closer to 70 Mbps. Since the sectors are generally unsaturated on Band 41, with a good signal and proper backhaul you should be seeing much higher. People have seen much higher with confirmed connection to Band 41, while these speeds are much more indicative of Band 25.

Regardless, on a smartphone what is the difference between 8 Mbps and 70 Mbps? What is much more important is the latency.

I live in KC, Sprint's "hometown" and a large employer in our area. I have tried to love them, tried to like them, and then just tried to live with them thinking that I was investing in my own community. I am now leaving them, it's over, I gave my best. There is a tower that I can see visually from my home, that was switched over to LTE less than a year ago. Initially my speeds were 11-18 when the tower went live. Approximately 1 month later, I was barely able to get to 1 (yes I typed one intentionally). I have called, complained, yelled, screamed and begged to no avail. They would not fix that tower. Now, I have noticed that the speeds in other parts of my area are dropping quickly and no matter where I go the speed is never over 5, mostly its under 3. Sprint is a disaster looking for a place to happen right now. I hope for the sake of all of their employees that they can get things together, but it doesn't look promising. Admitting you have a problem is the first step...they haven't made that step yet.

Edit: I realize this article is about Spark, my point is that they haven't even figured out LTE yet.

Sector saturation. Sprint started showing great speeds and people are taking advantage of that by switching from other carriers. Any one sector on Band 25 has a max of 37.5 Mbps. It doesn't take very many people to oversaturate that. They need to add more sites, but as they roll out Bands 26 and 41 even Band 25 will improve as users are shunted to the other bands.

You should also realize that some of the problems people are complaining about is because Sprint took one channel of 1900MHz away from 3G to light up 4G on 1900MHz. So now with all the new phones starting to use 4G on the one channel of 1900MHz people will experience the same problem, lack of spectrum especially when it is advertised and used as unlimited data. The only fix is to light up the additional spectrum freed from the Nextel shutdown and Clearwire acquisition, it takes time and money and in the latter, expertise. All of which Softbank will help with, Mayoshi Son seems like a no nonsense type of CEO.

I grabbed a G2 from best buy and Unlocked all 3 bands to test out the New spark. Coming from my Gnex the services is night and day. I topped out at 27 mbps but most were still in the 8 range and I'm good with that. I have another week to return and go to T-Mobile as planned but I think I may just ride out Sprint as this has been a pleasant experience with this new phone.

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I got my Nexus 5 a week ago, unlocked the bands. I must say its been much better. I get GPS in buildings from the phone, I get 3G inside and most of the time LTE in areas I wouldnt get anything. So definitely a step in the right direction and I am going to stick with it to see it get better. Especially since it is the best priced carrier for me by at least $10-$15 a month.

I use to have spots I didn't even get 3g with my old phone. Now I have LTE 90% of the time. T-Mobile was attractive but only I paid $50 to get great service and a sweet phone as I'm "building credit" in TM's eyes and would had to have dish out 50% of the phone's cost and $65 deposit on my line.

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Sprint is terrible, i used to get dropped calls like there's no tomorrow and I'm in nyc. Tried tmobile and it wasn't that much better. Att and Verizon are much, much better.

Posted via Android Central App on my VZW 4G LTE GS4

Still hoping sprint can start kicking some @ss . Very happy and thankful that i get it in new orleans around all the places i usually go, gym and work and in the city of nola. Only place it does not reach is inside my house. Getting speeds at work of about 10 MB and 3 mb up

As long as you keep doing contracts, you are locked in to unlimited. I will admit I thought they were gonna start going to that share everything crap but so far so good

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Nowhere in their unlimited for life does it say the price will stay the same... If they ever want to cap you, all they have to do is jack the price up when it's time for renewal

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And then you are free to leave them for some other carrier. In the meanwhile, you still get excellent pricing and truly unlimited/uncapped data with very good voice coverage, great phone selection, full roaming, and good customer service.

The huge wildcard is speed. Always has been and still is. Some areas are fantastic. Others are horrible. Most are a mix of the two or somewhere inbetween, with very little consistency.

Yeah, from what I hear, their customer service is great. My friend gets decent service, but it's the CS and price that keeps him using Sprint.

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We'll see how much longer they offer unlimited everything. Honestly, I think, once Sprint's network is equivalent to or surpasses the others, they will change their pricing and stance to reflect that.

Here's to hoping that they remember who kept them in business.

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Man, those share everything plans are downright terrible. 1GB for $50? No thanks, lol.

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Two reasons for me. One, I get a 23% discount. Two, they have a contract with my employer and have set up antennas in the basement of the building I work. It's the only carrier I get coverage at work otherwise the basement prevents any signal getting to me.

For me I get $100 a month thru work for my line. Subsidies mean less out of pocket in this case.

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It's a little cheaper than the One-up plan which in turn is a little less than the T-Mobile's Jump as reported when analyzing iPhone financing across all 4 carriers. You just have to wait 18 months for upgrades on the standard 2 year contract..

I haven't gotten lte since I bought my G2, I'm about 20 miles from DTLA. I'm stuck on sprint 3g, although I will say I get about 1.5-2.3mbps

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I have a LG G2 and I believe there is a known issue with 4G connectivity. I have a GS4 and a Note3 also and they get 4G everywhere. My G2 barely ever picks up LTE even though a 4G tower is within a stones throw away from my house. Sad to say because I love the G2 and the battery life is fantastic!!

And this is if you happen to live in one of about 5 cities. Everyone else is either stuck on the dial up 3g or 1mbps download LTE that has poor connection strength so it bounces to 3g all the time ruining your data connection momentarily making it seem even slower.

Sprint is all talk except for a small minority of people. It is the ONLY reason they can offer unlimited data. A majority of people will have a hard time even using 2GB on their network.

Funny my LTE would be to differ with you.

Don't make generalities

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I've been using 1-2GB a month on Sprint for three years now, long before LTE was deployed here, more when I traveled... Been using more now that LTE is up. I also use wifi at home like 99% of the time (and I have an Airave so even if I didn't turn it on I wouldn't be on the network).

I guess Sprint was just never quite as bad here as other places, and I'm glad, cause Tmo's only been around in Puerto Rico for around 3 years (maybe 4?) and their coverage is still weaker, though HSPA+ speeds are impressive when available. I'm looking forward to trying out Tmo soon now that I have a Nexus 5.

Should make for an interesting decision come summer when my Sprint contract expires... AT&T would technically be the cheapest since I have the option to jump on a family plan for $30 or whatever plus the difference in plan cost after we raise the data allotment, just not sure how much I'd need to raise it...

I've definitely been using more data on Sprint LTE so I'm gonna have to keep an eye on that in order to judge whether a capped plan would work at all.

Sorry, my LTE experience is quite different than yours and I don't live in one of those 5 Spark cities. Tested just now and got 7.68 down and 4.53 up on Sprint LTE. And that is in a pretty densely populated area and during prime time. And LTE is not brand new here (has been up most of this year).

Whoever wrote this article - please realize that Sprint Spark, as you mentioned runs on 3 frequencies: 800, 1900 and 2500 MHz. 1900 is "regular" LTE, 800 provides great coverage and indoor penetration, but 2500... That's what's going to provide those Spark speeds. So when you get lackluster results, it's probably because you're connected to the 1900 network - the string coverage you're getting might be from the 800. Your better results could be from 2500 - but this is all speculation, because the Spark spinning icon will be displayed regardless of whether the device is connected to true Spark 2500 MHz spectrum. To check what band your phone is connected to, it may be in your phone's about menu or you can use a dialer code to check the LTE Engineering screen.

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What do you mean by "regular" LTE? The difference here is that 800MHz and 1900MHz are FDD and 2500MHz is TDD. If anything, 700MHz and AWS would be considered "regular", though nothing really qualifies that title.

He means the regular LTE that every phone except of the 4 phones that support spark use.

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My understanding is that Sprint started LTE with 5(up)+5(down)MHz out of typically 45MHz total across most US markets on 1900MHz and has added about the same on 800MHz of which they have 14MHz total across most US markets. I believe that is what he referred to as regular, both of which are running on FDD-LTE. Whereas 2500MHz is using TD-LTE which doesn't distinguish between up or down therefore is more efficient; and because it is at a higher frequency it has a wider bandwidth (3 times wider than Verizon and AT&T are currently using for LTE on 700-850MHz) which translate into greater overall speed. Furthermore, Sprint has a boat load of 2500MHz spectrum; 120-160MHz of it across most markets, and are probably starting out by using 20MHz which is normally twice that of what I believe the other carriers started with when using 10+10MHz for their intial LTE deployment with out even adjusting for the overall bandwidth differences with low and high frequency spectrums that Verizon and AT&T have used for LTE.

Whoever wrote this article - please realize that Sprint Spark, as you mentioned runs on 3 frequencies: 800, 1900 and 2500 MHz. 1900 is "regular" LTE, 800 provides great coverage and indoor penetration, but 2500... That's what's going to provide those Spark speeds. So when you get lackluster results, it's probably because you're connected to the 1900 network - the string coverage you're getting might be from the 800. Your better results could be from 2500 - but this is all speculation, because the Spark spinning icon will be displayed regardless of whether the device is connected to true Spark 2500 MHz spectrum. To check what band your phone is connected to, it may be in your phone's about menu or you can use a dialer code to check the LTE Engineering screen.

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speeds are going to vary wherever you are based on how many people are using it at once. my Verizon LTE speeds blow by what I had on Sprint.

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Androidcentral thanks for the write up and taking the time out to do this, but, it is very unclear that you ever connected to Band 41. People don't realize that LTE coverage on the standard band has greatly improved in NYC. Can you verify what band you are on using engineering screens?

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Why should he have to worry about what band he's on? Sprint said Spark in those areas so he went to those areas and tested for us. He is showing us real world results rather than what Sprint says.

Sprint's own press kit said " The first markets with limited availability are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa and Miami"
They even said limited in the press kit. So, claiming that you tested Spark while not actually checking to see if you were on Spark is either intentionally misleading or just lazy. The press release doesn't say it is available everywhere in NYC. NYC is a big city.
http://newsroom.sprint.com/presskits/sprint-spark.htm
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Mr Vacca states Sprint's speeds are on par with T-Mobile's, that is total bull shit. T-Mobile's Network is getting over 20mb download in and around that area. I'm getting a solid 30mb download speed, this is during the day. T-Mobile is much faster, more reliable and are building new towers at a record speed. T-Mobile is the Carrier of the future. I just don't know or really care where Mr Vacca has gotten his wrong info from but he is flat out wrong. T-Mobile is at a minimum 3-4 times faster if not more and let's not forget T-Mobile has real unlimited data without throttling.
Thank You T-Mobile

Sprint has real unlimited data also. Always has. I tried T-Mobile for a while it was OK. I got real tired of dropping to 2g though.

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I won't dispute anything about speeds, but Sprint didn't throttle their unlimited plans either... And Tmo throttles every plan once you're past the data allotment unless you go for the $70 truly unlimited plan, which admittedly is STILL cheaper than most competing plans (Sprint has a no contract $60 unlimited plan though, just saying).

I tried Sprint...Twice. T-Mobile has the best speeds in my area. Faster than my WiFi. I seriously doubt "Spark" will ever make it here.

Does it really matter what band he's using and where? Sprint said they opened spark in NYC. He's testing in Manhattan, not even the outer boroughs. Spark should be ready at least all over Manhattan, not just little pockets here and there. Sprint has been promising great things for years. Get it right already.

Exactly.

Sprint's rah-rah press releases aren't telling people to check engineering screens or to stand on a specific corner and hold the phone towards Mordor. They say how great the LTE is now in NYC.

It ain't.

Sprint tends to announce markets when they're 30-50%, but so do most carriers AFAIK... I do agree that the customer shouldn't be sweating what band he's on though, but the customer should also not be lured by anyone's quotes of max throughout (that's like buying a car purely based on top speed).

At the end of the day if you're really concerned with who's fastest in your end of the woods you should just grab a Nexus and see for yourself, might cost a bit more for one or two months but it'll be more reliable than any other metric. you travel a lot, specially on the road, you're probably still better off puckering up for big red.

It all gets doubly complicated once you factor in employee/student discounts, family plans, etc. Generations about which carrier is best for anyone are utterly pointless.

They said limited release in NYC. Their own words. They never claimed all of NYC was covered. I do agree that the need to practice "under promise, over deliver", but they were honest in the press kit that it was limited. So testing something that they say is limited without checking to see if it is actually available where you tested it is a little misleading in the reporting.

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Most carriers these days who claim to have LTE are 4G imposters. They claim to have LTE coverage which is basically pre-4G and nothing more.
Carriers often exploit customers seeking faster internet by claiming they've got true 4G which is HSPA+ being throttled up in order to fool customers.
It’s also important to know that LTE-A isn’t just about handset download speeds, there’s a big push to make improvements to infrastructure in order to achieve these high download rates.

Sent from the Android 5.0 Milkshake

The HSPA+ tests I have seen my friends show me are better than any LTE Sprint I have seen in Minnesota. Who cares what the true definition of 4G is. Real world results matter.

You are mistaken. They changed the name of HSPA+ to 4g but never called it LTE. Their LTE network is a separate network from the HSPA+ (4g) network. So TMO and ATT really have two active 4g networks regardless of naming semantics. On HSPA+ I get 5-8 mb down and on LTE I have gotten as high as 61 Mbps down averaging mid 20s with ATT. I am always connected to one or the other and have never seen 3G or 2g.

Sprint Spark is more like a flicker, flash, glint, twinkle, lol! I just switched from Sprint and I love T-Mobile! On Sprint in South Florida I would get like 0.20-0.60 download and half that for upload on 3G and that was when the test didn't time out. On LTE I would get between 1-2Mb down and half that up. So Sprint was providing 3G speeds on LTE and some towers simply broadcast LTE and have no throughput. I would sometimes get a burst of up to 6Mb if I was within sight of the tower. Also I live in a Spark Sprint area which is supposed to get 50Mb down but I couldn't even get normal LTE! I just left two weeks ago so they haven't upgraded since then either. How are they going to do 50Mb down when they can't even do more than 2Mb (in South Florida anyway, which is a Spark area)?! What a joke! With T-Mobile I get 10-20Mb down and 1-5Mb up on HSPDA+ and 10-30Mb down and 5-15Mb up on LTE! Its amazing! And LTE is almost everywhere but if I reach an area that's not I get HSPDA+, which is almost as fast! YAY! Plus the signal penetration is so much better as I get signal indoors everywhere now! I don't care if HSPDA+ is a 3G technology as it gives me better speeds than Sprint EVER did even on LTE! So you are actually telling me that Sprint provides LTE which is slower than T-Mobiles 3G, by your definition of HSPDA+ as 3G! LOL!

5th

Sprint has been awesome everywhere I travel. I used up 23GB of data last month, definitely not doing that on Verizon or AT&T without paying alot extra. T-Mobile has been an absolute joke in my area. I had the ridiculous experience of using them as a company phone, dropped calls all over Philly and Jersey. I don't care how many towers T-Mobile claims to be putting up, it's about quality not quantity. Sprint is doing it right, rebuilding from the ground up on every tower. The other carriers are eventually going to have to rebuild just like Sprint chose to do. It's all about data, spectrum and tower design. Sprint is preparing itself for the future, while the other greedy outdated networks continue their same course.

Don't know where in Jersey or Philly you are talking about but T-Mobile in those areas are very fast, all over. You are obviously trying to push Sprint. Not only does T-Mobile have very fast LTE speeds but their HSPA+ is also 3 times faster than Sprint's LTE. Sprint's 3G is just pathetic, shouldn't even be listed as 3G. My brother is a self-employed tower jockey who travels all over the country installing and repairing cell towers. I know where and when many towers are installed. T-Mobile has a schedule of installs that would choke a horse. T-Mobile is and has been installing nothing but LTE Advanced Hardware on all their towers. They are ready for future LTE Advanced Handsets. T-Mobile this time next year will be easily the Nations #3 Carrier knocking on AT&T's door.

I call bs. Sprint has had better speeds for me in downtown Boston, saugus, norwood, and dedham than t-mo lte and hspa+. But that was tested with a nexus 4 hacked to use lte so it's lte wasn't the strongest. But co-worker's note 2 and S4 are legit lte phones and speeds were the same as my N4. Only complaint on sprint would be building penetration. I had more lte signal in the buildings with T-MO. But sprint won on speeds

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He wasn't talking about 1 minute speed tests; he was talking about dropped calls over several minutes if need be. Go to sensorly.com and look at the coverage maps (4g and 2g/3g) around Philly, and you will see T-Mobile has more gaps. And then hope T-Mobile does well in the future 600MHz auction, because they will need those lower frequencies more. At least Sprint has some 800MHz that they will re-farm now that Nextel is shutdown.

I wasnt planning on switching phones for 2 years but if they roll out Spark in my area like they did LTE I might have to. I have great everything (voice, data, coverage) except in one of my favorite pubs. Spark would cure that. or finding a better class of bar. Tough choices..

Theoretically, Sprint is a good value with unlimited voice, text and data. In practice, data speeds are so slow, it's hard to use a significant amount of data every month.

I manage to burn though about 25GB/month all while on Sprint 3G. I do love streaming Play Music and Netflix. Still waiting for my 4G dreams to come true.

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Stop generalizing. You can only speak about YOUR AREA and YOUR experience. And thus is the problem with these types of threads... people like you who decide that a carrier is the same across the entire country.

IT ISN'T.

Every carrier has great and poor speeds. Great and poor coverage. It is all about *WHERE*. So test in YOUR area and keep your comments *qualified* as such.

Agreed. I get great T-Mobile coverage (HSPA+ and LTE) in Milwaukee, WI. As soon as I go to my friend's house in Franklin, WI, I drop down to five bars of 2G.

The real "eye-opener" was when I traveled to Virginia for training. I was lucky to get two bars of 2G.

So, in short, area matters. Generalizations don't apply to the wireless industry and probably won't for the foreseeable future.

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What are you talking about? T-Mobile has horrible coverage, but where it does have coverage their service is amazing. Sprint has coverage everywhere and their service blows in 75% of the markets in the country. This is facts from every reviewer and test done on their network. Don't generalize? You don't have to with Sprint as there is a reason they are always ranked as the worst in customer service and network in every review of them. And I'm still waiting on someone to tell me how Sprint is expecting to do 50+Mb when they can't do 2+Mb constantly in most of their markets!

And I call BS to the one guy who said he used 25-50Gb a month on Sprint 3G! Let's see some data usage screenshots.

5TH

Not impressive at all!!! 3-4 bars of LTE on Tmo I get 15-27mbps in my room where I live, Waterbury, Ct.

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Ok Sprint, here's the deal. You've got gobs and gobs of spectrum. How are your LTE speeds this mediocre?!? Did I mention how much spectrum you guys have? Get your backhaul in order.

in the meantime I'll stick with TMO who gets rather impressive LTE speeds with much less spectrum. Again, did I mention how much spectrum you guys have?!?!?!?

Sprint's lte is pretty good around Atlanta.I live in north Atl and average around 7-9 mbps from my home.I am excited about the possibilities of faster speeds.

Meanwhile T-Mobile is getting up to 70 near Dallas on 20X20 and I have seen up to 35Mbs in the market where I am on a 10X10 network. Sprint really has some self reflection to do.

The reality is that most people don't care if it is 5Mbs 20Mbs or 100Mbs. For most, it doesn't matter once you are getting consistent speeds in the several megabits.

Now, if you get stuck with 0.5Mbs or 1Mbs, yeah, that just sucks. And here, I had to deal with that for YEARS on Sprint. LTE changed that. Will it last? Don't know.

I just switched from Sprint and I love T-Mobile! On Sprint in South Florida I would get like 0.20-0.60 download and half that for upload on 3G and that was when the test didn't time out. On LTE I would get between 1-2Mb down and half that up. So Sprint was providing 3G speeds on LTE and some towers simply broadcast LTE and have no throughput. I would sometimes get a burst of up to 6Mb if I was within sight of the tower. Also I live in a Spark Sprint area which is supposed to get 50Mb down but I couldn't even get normal LTE! I just left two weeks ago so they haven't upgraded since then either. How are they going to do 50Mb down when they can't even do more than 2Mb?! What a joke! With T-Mobile I get 10-20Mb down and 1-5Mb up on HSPDA+ and 10-30Mb down and 5-15Mb up on LTE! Its amazing! And LTE is everywhere but if I reach an area that's not I get HSPDA! YAY! Plus the signal penetration is so much better as I get signal indoors everywhere now! I got a Note 3 and I'm actually paying less than Sprint now (and I was getting a 25% discount with Sprint too)!

When I was leaving Sprint they didn't even offer me anything to stay. Also I had two friends who left around the same time I did and they ignored us all. One account had 3 phones on it too! Sprint doesn't care about its customers and it shows which is why they are losing customer s hand over fist! All you have to do is read any site online or forum and you'll see Sprint is always being complained about, mainly because of their slow network. Maybe one day they will have a great network due to their superior spectrum setup, but I don't see that happening in the next 5 years as they are so far behind! They also need to stop selling to so many other MVNO's! There are literally like 50 companies who use the Sprint network!

5th

Engineering screen+ speeds tests to show your on Band 41. Or this is a useless ass article, and besides those speeds with Spark.. People on S4GRU Who POSTED PROOF of being on Band 41, are hitting 55+ and even hit 62MB down.

Not so sure about that on these Tri-Band phones. Remember the radio is either doing LTE for data or voice. Can't do both at the same time. I thought I saw a reference to this somewhere, but of course I can't find it now.

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I do find it funny that a site like AC can't do proper testing. Good thing S4guru is around to actually test the right band....

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What is "proper" testing in this regard? Sprint put out a press release indicating that Spark is up and running in New York City. We went around the most populous area of the city (and beyond) with a Spark-ready phone, and tested the speeds.

As soon as customers are expected to worry about which band their LTE is operating on so that they can get good speeds, the carrier has completely and utterly failed to provide a good quality of service.

I hate to break it to you. But it's up and running, YES!. BUT it's in testing stages, do you remember when Sprint let people know that during there network over haul. They would have 4G running even during testing stages? Spark in any city is only 30%, if that complete. Band 41 is right now, the only Band the Spark is using. Band 41 is spark basically, You will not get these poor speeds with Sprint Spark aka connected to band 41. People haten on Sprint need to actually research shit deeper than just the tests.

But someone who is on Sprint or considering a move to Sprint should've have to worry about what percentage of towers have Spark enabled or what band their phone is currently connected to. Sprint tells them that they get Spark speeds in NYC (and four other cities), and that's all they should have to know.

Then they go out into the city and they don't see the speeds that Sprint is saying the phones can (theoretically) achieve. That's just disingenuous.

Exactly! I live in a Spark "Turbo" area (South Florida), Sprint's term not mine, and I can't even get their normal 1900Mhz LTE let alone Spark 2500! And when I go a few blocks away and get LTE it is between 1-2Mb second so how are they going to push 50+Mb!?!!!!!!???!!?!?!? I want someone to answer that question for me! And don't tell me congestion as I have tested at times between 2-6AM and still get shoddy speeds! Even when I get right up to the tower I still get these 1-2Mb speeds! The most I ever see is a max of 6Mb burst but not on that tower and once in a blue moon. Sprint is a scam artist of a company and they are hoping if they can fake it and hang on to their customers, they can eventually bring their network up to par while keeping their customers watching the spinning Spark icon on their phone in Android! I wish I would have left Sprint sooner!

5th

Sprint has to put a massive 8T8R antenna in most cases on each spark tower, re-strengthening the tower is usaully necessary and sometimes rezoning too. Not that easy, just like Network Vision wasn't/isn't easy comparatively.

Customers aren't expected to but you guys are. And you can note in the article if you had to manually set the phone to use band 41 and that it didn't switch to it by itself. It's almost as if you guys aren't even trying. Especially when other people are finding MUCH faster speeds than you guys. Which begs the question if you actually tested the spark network at all or just the band 25?

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Nowhere in any of Sprint's materials or marketing does it say that you must force your phone onto a certain band or do anything out of the usual to get Spark speeds. Sprint tells customers that they can be in one of the five launch cities, use a Spark-capable phone and receive the benefit.

Testing and forcing a phone onto certain bands or only going to specific parts of a city where the signal is best is just lying to people about what the true status of Spark really is.

I think this article should be titled "Android Central's theoretical bias against Sprint proven to not be theoretical at all".

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Bias against Sprint how? Anndrew came to the conclusion that Sprint is beating Verizon and AT&T in NYC, but that the speeds aren't as high as Sprint would make you think.

Show me a positive article about Sprint that doesn't contain snarky or snide tongue in cheek comments. Occasionally there are some, but most of the time those comments are there.

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Not just that but people over at S4GURU are getting way faster speeds and actually took the time to make sure they were on band 41

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Exactly.

I get tired of reading AC reviews of a Sprint phones with snide comments- even in the header, that are both unfair and unwarranted. Especially when the review is about A PHONE not the network.

Every carrier has speed and coverage issues in various areas. Every single one. Yet I almost never see that mentioned in *PHONE* reviews on AC.... UNLESS it is on a Sprint phone. And it is rarely worded reasonably like "some people" or "some areas" have this or that, it is usually just a blanket generalization. I am looking to AC for facts and professional writing, not generalizations and snide remarks.

And then there was that horrible Dan photo they used over and over for months and months while several people, including myself, asked them to please get a decent Sprint graphic. All the while the graphics being used for the other carriers were just phone. (Note: they FINALLY got rid of the Dan photo).

You mention he found it faster than two other carriers, but yet the title of the article is a definite snarky comment about Sprint. Barrow Alaska has zero AT&T coverage. Does that mean I've could write an article and title it "AT&T has non-existent coverage!"? No, it doesn't.

Why not title the article "Spark speeds tough to find, but Sprint speed conquer others in NYC"? Why not? Because AC goes out of its way to bash Sprint. Just look at the very first article on Spark by none other than Phil himself where he says "your speeds - cough, cough - will vary".

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The reason that they have so many articles against them (Sprint) is because they are proportionally horrible all around the nation! There is a reason they are rated the worst carrier in America by customer service and network! So if you go around saying how fast you are and then try to get credit for it, expect someone to challenge you on it! I guarantee someone is on their way to that spot recently in Plano TX T-Mobile said it got 70Mb down to test it. And if they do I expect to hear their results. And I don't think T-mobile said you had to stand on your head and wrap yourself in tin foil to get the speeds, unless I maybe missed something, lol.

5th

Wouldn't really call it a bias against Sprint. It's more of just stating the facts. I have LTE in my area and I only get a consistent 1-2Mpbs, sometimes I'll see 3-6Mpbs but I've never seen it go over 10Mbps. Meanwhile, my friends on other major carriers get 20Mpbs easily.

I can see the gameloft icon in the top right corner but that must mean gameloft has an app but I can't find it in the play store in gs3 international version in the UK

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I don't see why everyone thinks Sprint's 3G network is so slow. I was in Ohio a few weeks back, and I borrowed a friend's phone (he has Sprint), and was able to load a full desktop site with a complex GUI and full of images in just under 10 seconds.

Jacksonville... I've heard of it... Big City. Well, they have a pro football team at least. Every hear of a little cow-town named Greeley, CO? I get 41 down, 9 up.... On Tmob

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It's always something "coming next" with Sprint, but somehow that next thing never quite arrives. Their 3G network was horrible so they said wait until 4G. 4G was horrible so wait until LTE comes out. Well, I've had my MOTO X for going on close to 12 weeks now and during this entire time the cell tower that is suppose to provide LTE coverage for my home area has been malfunctioning. And now they're talking about Sparks.

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all these comments are not productive. I live in springfield mass which is basically nowhere. I have had 4g for about 2 months. previously had a galaxy s3 which never got more than 10mbs on any speed test. now I have a nexus 5 and the lowest result has been 20 mbs and the test I did literally 5 minutes ago was 27mbs. according to sensorly the sprint 4g coverage has been growing in my area and I have stopped using wifi at home because its so fast. building penetration would be great as would an app to tell me exactly what is going with my phone. I currently use signal check pro but Im not sure thats the best app though it does tell me when I have 4g or the standard sprint 3[crap]g.

Sprint Map says that I should be getting excellent coverage at my house yet I cant even make a call. Yet I can drive 5 minutes away from my house and get full bars of 4G LTE. Unfortunately I don't need it 5 minutes away from home I need it at home. Leaving Sprint this week and going with T-Mobile. Like someone said earlier The Next big thing never gets to me On Sprint.