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Sprint’s LTE rollout finally makes its way to New York (parts, at least)

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New Yorkers wondering when Sprint’s(s s) LTE machine will finally find its way to the Big Apple can stop wondering – at least those New Yorkers living or working in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Sprint said on Wednesday that it is turning on its new 4G network in those two boroughs on July 30.

The official New York launch is hardly a surprise given customers with LTE phones have been picking up random signals in the city, but officially bringing NYC online will be a major milestone in the carrier’s LTE rollout. New York is not only the most populated city in the U.S., but it is one of the most difficult in which to build a mobile network due to its extreme population density and strict regulations on where and how cell sites can be placed.

Sprint logo signAs for Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan, Sprint said the LTE network is already live in parts of those boroughs, but it would officially launch in those ares in the coming months. Sprint also revealed it is joining AT&T(s t) and T-Mobile(s tmus) in setting up shop in NYC’s subway system as part of Transit Wireless’s project to flood the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s underground stations with cellular signals.

Sprint started its LTE rollout last summer, and it’s fair to say it now lags all of its major competitors in providing LTE access to its customers. Both Verizon Wireless(s vz)(s vod) and AT&T had big head starts on Sprint, but even T-Mobile has managed to leapfrog its larger competitor. In just four months, T-Mobile brought its LTE coverage from zero to 116 cities covering 157 million people.

Sprint’s last official market count was 110 (New York will make it 111), and while T-Mobile has targeted mainly larger cities, Sprint’s initial rollout targeted many smaller cities and bypassed many key metropolitan cities like NYC, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Sprint has said it plans to fill those big holes this summer, starting with New York.

This LTE network also isn’t the only one Sprint is building. Since it acquired Clearwire as part of its three-way day with SoftBank, Sprint has taken over the WiMAX’s operator’s time-division LTE project, which could add enormous amounts of capacity to its networks in big cities. The Sprint watchers at S4GRU have already spotted the new TD-LTE transmissions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Miami, New York City, Tampa and Chicago. And Sprint has begun seeding its customer base with tri-band devices modems that will tap into both LTE networks.

We’re waiting to see just how extensive and expansive this TD-LTE rollout will be. Clearwire’s initial goal was rather conservative: providing additional capacity in high-trafficked areas in big cities. But now that Sprint has taken over the ailing carrier, it could use its spectrum to build one of the single most powerful 4G networks in the country.

Sprint store photo courtesy of Shutterstock user Susan Law Cain

5 Responses to “Sprint’s LTE rollout finally makes its way to New York (parts, at least)”

  1. Kevin B

    I have a Boost HTC One SV. To my understanding, it’s 4gLTE, not WiMax. I live in South Jersey and have Clear WiMax for my home internet. I only get 3g on my phone at home. I’m in and around Philadelphia a lot. The 4gLTE is on and off in Philly right now.

  2. George Zimmerman

    Sprint like to sound as if they were customers-friendly but they’re not. In general Sprint has a horrible network compared to other carriers. They got the worse LTE coverage and all they do is blame vendors. People should really check if this carrier has good coverage in their area before subscribing to them. Here you’ll see that this carrier is not as awesome as you might think:

  3. Rory King

    I have had the HTC ONE SV on Boost mobile since may, and I have always had 4g always. You guys are late to the party man way late lol. And to those that don’t know Boost is a sprint subsidiary. I always have a great lye signal in the Bronx, by my work in Brooklyn, and in Manhattan.

    • Kevin Fitchard

      Hi Rory,

      The HTC One SV is a WiMAX phone accessing Clearwire’s older network. But you make a good point, a lot of the markets Sprint doesn’t have LTE in yet it still has WiMAX coverage. The problem is that Sprint proper stopped selling WiMAX phones a while back and used the network for its MVNOs Boost and Virgin. There are a lot of Sprint customers wandering around the NYC and other big cities with brand new LTE-enabled smartphones but stuck with 3G speeds.