updated 04:15 pm EDT, Wed October 30, 2013
Offering available to four phones, five markets at launch
Telecom carrier Sprint has announced its new high-speed "Spark" wireless data service, bridging 800MHz, 1.9GHz, and 2.5GHz data bands. Boasting initial peak speed of 60Mbps, Sprint claims that compatible phones will eventually reach 1Gbps speed as the technology matures.
The technology multiplexes the three bands, combining the three spectrum allocations into one connection at the mobile device level. The Sprint CEO demonstrated a peak of 1Gbps in the lab, and promises that the advance is capable of up to 2Gbps.
"Sprint Spark is a combination of advanced capabilities, like 1x, 2x and 3x carrier aggregation for speed, 8T8R for coverage, MIMO for capacity, TDD for spectral efficiency, together with the most advanced devices offering both tri-band capability and high-definition voice for the best possible customer experience," said Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint.
Today the company has approximately 55,000 macro cell sites -- a level Sprint expects to be staying at for the next few years. The company also anticipates using smaller micro-cells to augment capacity, coverage and speed. Small cell deployment is expected to begin in 2014, continuing into 2015 and beyond.
The service has been activated in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Tampa, and Miami. Alongside the service's debut, the company announced that the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, Galaxy Mega, LG G2, and HTC One Max smartphones will be made compatible with the network, with already-updated versions launching on November 8. Older Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy Mega devices will be updated over-the-air for tri-band use shortly after launch. The LG G2 will see an update early in 2014.
Sprint's future plans are to launch the service in 100 additional US cities spread across the next three years. Over 200 million people will fall under the tri-band umbrella by the end of the year.