Sprint Nextel Corp. is sticking to its plans to deploy 115 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) markets in total on its existing 3G footprint in the coming months, but has more than 200 markets currently under construction.
"Construction for 4G is now happening in more than 200 cities," Steve Elfman, president of network operations and wholesale at Sprint, said on the operator's third-quarter earnings call in October. (See Sprint Building Out LTE in 200+ Cities.)
This doesn't mean that, however, that all of these markets will be up and running soon. A Sprint spokeswoman replied to Light Reading Mobile's questions on the buildout via email Tuesday evening, stating that 4G LTE is "now launched in 43 cities with over 115 more expected in coming months."
This should finally include larger cities like Boston, Chicago and New Orleans. Sprint has been mainly sticking to smaller towns and cities for its deployments so far. For instance, a reader reports that LTE signals can already be seen in Chicago, even if the market isn't launched yet. (See Slow Ride: Sprint Hits 43 4G LTE Markets.)
Sprint still isn't revealing the timeline for its next tranche of 4G markets to go live. "We are not releasing the specific timing," the spokeswoman tells us in a further email Wednesday.
She does note that Sprint users with LTE handsets will start to see the service fire up in different cities as the operator works on the network.
Yes, customers should be finding LTE signals popping up in those markets," she writes. "I am in L.A., and I have been finding 4G LTE all over!"
â€” Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile