Sprint has picked three network vendors for the faster "Spark" service it plans to overlay on its existing 4G network in cities through 2014 and says it has devices that can support all of its LTE frequency flavors.
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has picked Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Nokia Networks , and Samsung Corp. for its LTE TDD city overlay. The operator says it plans to cover 100 million people in US cities with the faster 4G by the end of 2014. (See Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors.)
The operator is currently deploying LTE on 1900MHz and starting to switch on 800MHz radios for better 4G coverage. Sprint expects to cover 200 million potential customers with the 1.9GHz network by the end of 2013.
The current Sprint LTE network averages 6 to 8 Mbit/s on download speeds. Sprint has said the Spark LTE TDD update currently peaks at 50 to 60 Mbit/s. (See Defining 4G: What the Heck Is LTE TDD?)
The first markets that will get the Spark service are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa, and Miami. Sprint named the HTC One Max, LG G2, Samsung S4 Mini, and Galaxy Mega as its first tri-band smartphones.
Sprint's plan is to offer a blended LTE service with peak "Spark" speeds available in major metro markets. All told, it will cover 250 million Americans with some flavor of 4G LTE by the middle of 2014.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading