After miserably failing with its WiMax-based 4G network which proved to be demonstrably slower than Verizon and AT&T’s LTE, Sprint seems to be on its way to saving their sinking ship with a slightly earlier LTE rollout than expected.
Tech users in 15 markets throughout Texas, Georgia, Missouri, and Kansas got the official LTE speed bump only a few weeks ago, and, according to some reports, Sprint’s new network is up and running in other areas as well.
The San Francisco Bay Area was always supposed to follow that initial LTE deployment, but Sprint seemed to suggest that wouldn’t happen very soon. The most optimistic scenario was that people living in the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Freemont, Santa Rosa and so on will be getting spoiled with improved download and upload speeds in the fall, while the worst-case scenario pointed towards an early 2013 rollout.
Both those predictions have now proved to be wrong and it seems that people living in or near Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and Mountain View can already pick up LTE signals on their phones. Before getting overly excited, you should know that this is most likely part of Sprint’s testing process, so the signal might come and go, or it might disappear altogether.
Also, it seems that, for the time being, only the southern part of the SF Bay Area (aka Silicon Valley) can get LTE connectivity, with the beautiful cities of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose being left out of the mix (and testing process) right now.
As for actual speeds, Sprint’s new LTE network seems to be able to go to up to 13 MBps (download) and 8 MBps (upload), according to a quick speed test performed by one of the first “tasters” of the new connectivity option. That’s not a whole lot, at least compared with what Verizon and AT&T’s networks are capable of, but we shouldn’t take these numbers for granted just yet. It’s crystal clear that Sprint still has some testing to do before officially rolling out the new network, and it’s also safe to assume that only part of the carrier’s LTE towers around San Francisco are up and running.
Still, if you happen to live in or near one of the cities mentioned in this post and own an LTE-enabled phone, you might want to try and see if you can pick up any new Internet signal. If you won't do it for you, at least do it for us and all the users eagerly awaiting for the network’s rollout, who would probably give anything for the smallest shred of good news.