The benefit of LTE for users is that they can get faster data downloads and uploads on smartphones, tablets and PCs. The launch is expected to bring users speeds that are three times that of the 3 to 6 Mbit/s offered over Sprint's current WiMax network, according to the Kansas City Business Journal.
Getting connected First, you need to live in one of these five cities: Atlanta, Kansas City, Dallas, Houston or San Antonio, Texas. See the map below for more details:
View Sprint 4G LTE Markets in a larger map
Sprint's hometown, Kansas City, is actually online now, according to various user forums.
Second, you need to have one of these five devices:
Table 1: Sprint's LTE Devices
|Manufacturer/Device||Type of device||Price With Contract|
|HTC EVO 4G LTE||Smartphone||$199|
|Samsung Galaxy Nexus 4G LTE||Smartphone||$199|
|Samsung Galaxy S III||Smartphone||$199|
|Sierra Wireless 4G LTE Tri-Fi Hotspot||Personal hot spot with 3G, WiMax and LTE||$99|
|LG Viper 4G LTE||Smartphone||$99|
The High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) EVO 4G LTE will be familiar to many Sprint users as it is a revamp of the EVO brand that the operator used to launch its WiMax network. Unique features include HD Voice for better call quality and a kickstand built into the phone. (See HD Voice: Can't Hear You Now.)
The $99 LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) Viper 4G LTE is the choice for the cost-conscious user who wants to get on the latest and greatest Sprint network. It also flaunts its green credentials with a case made from 50 percent recycled plastic. (See Sprint Launches Eco-Friendly LTE Viper.)
One selling point of Samsung Galaxy Nexus 4G LTE for Android fans is its tight integration with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Android operating system. Google introduced its latest attempt to sell its own phone in April and the device will be used to show off services like Google Wallet. (See Google Unlocks a Nexus Phone (Again).)
The Samsung Galaxy S III is the vendor's flagship smartphone at present. It includes unique features like advanced face recognition and the ability to share pictures instantly with nearby friends over Wi-Fi. (See Samsung's New Galaxy: A Data Hog Approaches.) The Sierra Wireless Inc. (Nasdaq: SWIR; Toronto: SW) 4G LTE Tri-Fi Hotspot is the best choice for a Sprint user who wants to connect multiple devices to Sprint's fastest network option in whatever city they happen to be in. The portable router connects via LTE, WiMax or 3G to Sprint and can support up to eight separate devices over Wi-Fi.
What you can't use None of the current AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) or Verizon Wireless LTE devices will work over the new Sprint 4G network. AT&T and Verizon are using different bands of the 700MHz frequencies, while Sprint is starting LTE on its 1900MHZ PCS spectrum. There are no multi-band radio support or roaming agreements in place, so there's no way for a Sprint LTE user to roam onto the much larger Verizon 4G footprint. (See Countdown to 4G Roaming in the US?)
The bottom line Sprint is going heavy on the smartphones for its LTE launch. The choice between the three $200 Android handsets might come down to which vendor you prefer or which feature set appeals most. The $99 Viper is clearly the bargain shopper's choice.
The Sierra Wireless hotspot might actually be the pick of the bunch if you live in one of the LTE cities but plan to travel. It can also get your laptop or tablet connected to the faster LTE network. 4G tablets are expected to arrive from Sprint this year but are absent from the LTE roster as of now.
- Sprint Sets LTE Launch Date
- Sprint to Launch LTE Service Soon?
- Sprint & Vendors Lagging on LTE Build?
- Mapping 4G: AT&T Hits 41 LTE Markets
- Verizon Lights Up 46 More 4G LTE Markets
- Sprint's 4G LTE Texan Triangle
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile