Sprint CEO Dan Hesse: Just give us time, and we’ll build the 4G network of your dreams

44 Comments

Sprint(s s) has been talking about building the most powerful mobile broadband network in the country since 2007, but seven years later, it is still far from its goal. As it stands now, Sprint’s 4G network is the slowest in the country, has least amount of coverage in major cities and has the smallest overall capacity.

As I’ve written many times before, Sprint has always had the potential to build the most powerful LTE network in the country, but despite years of promises it has failed to live up that potential. I think it’s quite fair to ask if Sprint really does plan building the mother of all networks or if it’s resigned itself to delivering a run-of-the-mill mobile broadband service.

On Tuesday I got my chance after Sprint’s Q4 earnings call where it reported a $1 billion loss but new subscriber gains. In an interview with CEO Dan Hesse I asked if Sprint still maintained its grand 4G ambitions. Hesse’s answer: “Yes, but it will take us a while to get there.”

Dan Hesse in one of Sprint's commercials. Photo courtesy of Sprint.

Dan Hesse in one of Sprint’s commercials. Photo courtesy of Sprint.

Hesse was perfectly frank about where Sprint currently stands. He said Sprint still had a lot of catching up to get its LTE network into key markets like San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. and match the 4G speeds of its competitors. But he also pointed out that Sprint has a lot more barriers to overcome than its competitors. While Hesse insisted that Sprint has a “tremendous sense of urgency” to build its network, he added that a project of this scale simply can’t be rushed.

The trials and tribulations of Sprint

“There’s a complexity to this network build that’s never been undertaken, in my view, by anyone in the world,” Hesse said. “We’re playing three-dimensional chess.”

While other carriers are adding LTE as an overlay technology to their networks, Sprint is ripping its old network out, replacing every radio, every base station and every backhaul connection, Hesse said. And while Sprint may have spectrum out the wazoo, it’s not in the most easy-to-reach places. Most of Sprint’s competitors had access to a good 20 MHz of 4G spectrum over which they could build pristine new LTE systems. Sprint has had to stitch airwaves from across the electromagnetic spectrum, Hesse said.

Hesse also pointed out that Sprint has faced its fair share of obstacles. Right as it launched its first Wimax network in 2008 in Baltimore, the country was hit by a deep recession, which hit Sprint particularly hard as it was still hobbled by its ill-advised acquisition of Nextel a few years earlier. Wimax turned out to be the wrong 4G bet, and it was forced to switch to LTE in midstream.

Most recently Sprint has been reeling from subscriber losses after shutting down Nextel’s old iDEN network. Only this last quarter did Sprint start growing again, and even then most of its customer additions came from its virtual network partners, not from Sprint proper. And it still reported a $1 billion loss in the continuing fallout from Nextel’s demise.

Hesse said he wasn’t making excuses, but offering explanations about why its LTE strategy has taken far longer to execute. But now that its big investment deal with SoftBank is closed, Sprint’s finances are in better shape. By taking over complete ownership of Clearwire this summer it’s now in firm control of its 4G airwaves and 4G destiny.

Sprint’s 4G juggernaut won’t suddenly appear overnight, Hesse said, but you will start seeing evidence of it in some cities this year.

“I really can’t give you a magic date because the build will continue through 2015,” Hesse said. “We’re moving on a city by city basis.”

Sprint's nationwide network with LTE in orange and Spark in yellow

Sprint’s nationwide network with LTE in orange and Spark in yellow

Hesse is specifically referring to Sprint’s new Spark network, built on its treasure trove of 2.5 GHz spectrum. Today Spark is only present in 14 markets (Baltimore and Philadelphia came online this week), and it’s really only an average network compared to the new network behemoths T-Mobile(s tmus) and Verizon Wireless(s vz)(s vod) are building. But starting in the second half of the year, Sprint will start piling more frequencies onto Spark.

Using an LTE-Advanced technique called carrier aggregation, Sprint will shape a network with 40 MHz of spectrum, Hesse said, making Spark comparable to the fat pipes T-Mobile and Verizon are laying. Then in 2015 it will aggregate even more airwaves, creating 60 MHz systems that will presumably outpace any network in the field today.

In the process it will fill in the big holes in its current LTE coverage footprint such as San Francisco, Hesse said. While you won’t see blazing speeds in every city in the country, in key markets Sprint’s network will be unequaled, Hesse said. Sprint hasn’t given up its ambition of being the mobile broadband carrier of record in the U.S., he said; it’s merely delayed it.

“This is very much in our DNA,” Hesse said.

More false hope?

Dan Hesse is a very convincing man, but I admit I’m still plenty skeptical. I’ve always rooted for Sprint, but it’s hard to argue with its history.

Sprint's Network Vision involves replacing its network hardware with new base stations that can serve multiple bands including Sprint’s 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz spectrum as well as its 4G 2.5 GHz spectrum and could be configured to one day handle LTE. Photo courtesy of Sprint.

Sprint’s Network Vision involves replacing its network hardware with new base stations that can serve multiple bands including Sprint’s 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz spectrum as well as its 4G 2.5 GHz spectrum and could be configured to one day handle LTE. Photo courtesy of Sprint.

Sprint’s grand systems overhaul — called Network Vision — didn’t just begin last year; it started back in 2011. And while its new Spark network came online last fall, Sprint and Clearwire supposedly started building it in 2012. What’s more despite Hesse’s claim of urgency, I just don’t see it in its announced plans. Spark won’t be complete for three years, and even then it will only be in 100 cities.

Compare that to T-Mobile, which went from zero to nationwide LTE in just eight months. Admittedly T-Mobile’s LTE overlay isn’t quite as complex as Sprint’s complete network replacement, but T-Mobile has still faced many of the same obstacles. It’s had to cobble together airwaves and cannibalize its old 2G spectrum, all the while facing enormous competitive pressure from AT&T(s t) and Verizon Wireless. And within a year of completing its initial LTE rollout, T-Mobile plans to its double its speeds and capacity.

Mobile networking technologies are progressing at a rapid clip. Sprint’s competitors are building up their own spectrum empires, and they’re taking advantage of the same carrier aggregation technologies as Sprint. By the time Sprint’s grand network is actually built it might not be so grand anymore.

Maybe Sprint one day really will build the 4G network of every mobile data junkie’s dreams, but I for one am tired of waiting.

44 Comments

Thomas Davis

Well I have been waiting since the very first evo 4g wimax it’s been almost 4 years and all I hear is its comming comming then reps tells you 2013 it’s gonna be here in 2014 and hell they don’t even know who were getting our 4g from kind of screwed up if you ask me the way I’m seeing it is its never going to get here switch to another carrier because att Verizon tmobile us cellular they know what’s going on. I gave sprint 4 years and I’m tired of waiting went to buy out my contract rep said beginning of March 2014 here it is almost end of April see no 4g so how much time does sprint need 4 years everyone else except ntelos has 4g. Bad thins sprint started spark now so we know where getting put off again another bad thing is I was gonna switch to tmobile find out sprint trying to buy them I don’t think sprint well get 4g in Roanoke Virginia

Jesse Thunder

Dan Heese needa to shut up! I didn’t bother reading the report. Sprint was so stupid stopping the rollout of 4G for years that I had to finally leave after paying for no 4G for too long. When Sprint first started to rollout 4G, that stupid CEO, Dan Heese, said in a commercial (forever memorable moronic phrase) that no other carriers will have 4G in his own wors, quote “Not now, not ever.” Well, look at all the other carriers successfully having 4G networks!!! Sprint is a failure!

dan

I just finished up with a follow up phone call with the customer agent named Brandon who did not know what a work order number was. I had to explain/verbally train him what this was he informed me that Sprint does not guarantee any of there work and who ever I had talked to did not know what they were doing. After yelling at him I asked to speak to his supervisor and was put on hold for over five minutes and got to speak to Charles. Once I got to speak to Charles I asked him very rudely why the junior employees under him did not know how to perform there job, why I was deliberately being lied to about getting my phone fixed and why they could not perform there job. I will admit that I even told him that he needed to pull his thumb out of his butt and stop taking money from customers in the form of a payment and not receive the services. All he could do is stutter and give me two letter words. at that point I told him that he and all of the junior personnel needed to be fired and that is when he told me that I needed to be professional in this matter. Charles had made me so anger that I had asked him to transfer me to his supervisor so that that supervisor could answer my questions. He told me to hand on and then transferred me back to Valerie a customer service representative. I have this situation on and off again since Dec. 2013. I have been a customer for over 10 years and I am so disgusted with sprint that if it was not for my wife loving the company I would have terminated my services because if I am getting treated this way than I am sure there are probably hundreds of customers being treated this way. If I was the CEO I would be completely embarrassed to have my name linked to anything that represented Sprint. All I want is my phone fixed and I should not have to pay for services not rendered. I also think that there definitely needs to be some type of refresher training in Customer service.

Floyd

The company has never been profitable under Hesse. He’s fired thousands of workers and while under his direction Sprint re-invents itself contentiously to no avail. The board needs to fire him and bring a doer…not a talker

Los_Groove

@Ura…also works great in Valley Fair, Westgate and Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

Davis

Sprint has lost something valuable. What is it you ask? Your/Their concern for their customers. That was the one thing they had going for themselves. Oh well Get Large and Forget I guess.

Davis

I was so pleased with Sprint for years when I first got them I guess it was back in 2003, 2004. I have been with them that long. They took a chance on me when my credit was bad and no other carrier would do so, without the down payment of $1000.00 Now it has been more then a decade. I must say this new thing that they are doing is going to cause many to go else where, such as myself. I was trying to get an upgrade and open a new line. The Rep was supposed to set everything up so when I got to Best Buy where she sent me everything would roll smooth, however none of what the Rep was supposed to do had had been done. Which cause me to be in Radio Shack for 2 hours and then I go over to Best Buy where I spend another hour and a half. Then I get home and call them on the phone only to spend another hour. Customer Service Supervisor Steven was horrible. Customer Service Rep was horrible. Nicole CS Supervisor never did her job. It is rediculous how they treat their customers and what they can get away with. I don’t see Sprint lasting, with this type of Customer Service. You know CS is a very important roll for a business, if your CS suck then so do the company. It is one thing when the CSR don’t know how to treat the customer but it is a whole lot worse when you speak to a Supervisor and they are even worse. Sprint Get It Together Before You Loose Your Business. Deal with your Supervisors and your Reps, or leave it like it is and see how long you last. Metro is coming up. I hope they don’t change to much once they get all the way up.

Ura

Sprint LTE exists here in the Bay Area and is GREAT (20Mbps/5-7Mbps) _when_ it works. Coverage is very spotty and seems to only be very good near the Google and Apple campuses…go figure.

Todd Giffen

100 cities for spark is very.. limited. This means even larger cities like Eugene and Salem in Oregon likely won’t get coverage, .. and only 1 city in Oregon will? I guess this to be either true or false, because there has to be 100 cities bigger than these two, but they are the top 3 cities population wise in Oregon

Kevin Fitchard

Hey Todd, I don’t think 100 cities is necessarily limited as long as Sprint has plans to bring adequate capacity to the rest of its footprint through its lower-frequency networks. It’s really in those dense urban areas where Spark’s capacity is needed.

What I find astonishing is it will take 3 years to finish building out this 100 markets. This is a project Clearwire started 2 years ago. I’m just not buying that it takes 5 years to build a 100-city network, no matter what obstacles Sprint faces.

Shawn

just remote markets managed by outsourced network services on outsourced towers you honestly don’t even own or manage your network.

I get it Mr. Hesse .. you externalized costs and kept up on those management bonuses!

Now with softbanks stupid cash infusion bonanza you really think things will change? Your outsourced network services will hover up that pile of money without any skin in the game like EMPLOYEES and leave you hanging with false promises and timelines. DOJ & FCC will end your TMO deal and you will continue to bleed subs. .Game Over.

Jean

What good is unlimited if you can’t use it? That’s why I got a Sprint mobile hotspot…off Ebay for the cheap data plan…then I upgraded to a tri-band device…as a backup for my RELIABLE Verizon 4G LTE internet service. I manage my Verizon 4G LTE carefully…my son REFUSES to have Sprint internet as the signal is so bad where he is at…almost non-existent, in fact. He LOVES his Verizon 4G LTE and swears by it…Verizon rules!!! Expensive, yes, but darn good!!! If I had to depend on Sprint’s non-existent service to make a call to 911 to save my life, then I would be dead…in a life or death situation, a reliable, dependable service and signal is paramount. That is WHY I am with Verizon.

korri king

What good is the advance networks that at&t, Verizon brag about if u can hardly use them because they charge so much for internet gb’s. I use on average 80gb a month streaming music and netflicks on my galaxy Mega, if I didn’t have sprint and unlimited net my phone would be useless. I think ill stick with sprint alil while longer!

Kevin Fitchard

Good point Korri,

Sprint still offers unlimited plans, and while that might not necessarily be useful to a lot of people, it is to hard-core data users (many of whom are Gigaom readers). Sprint has always done things differently, and I’ve always respected them for that. But I also feel that matters less and less if they let themselves be lapped by their competitors in network capabilities.

Jean

When I said “On Sprint customer forums, I counted 9, yes nine, customers, announcing that they were canceling their contracts and going to other carriers.” I forgot to include the minor detail, that it was NINE, yes 9, customers, on ONE page/web page of their Sprint customer forums. I am a current Sprint customer, but not with their laughable cellphone service…Verizon is my cellphone carrier, thank God.

Jean

Sprint is a national embarrassment, due to their so-called Network Vision “upgrade”…which is a colossal failure. They have flat out lied, and made false promises and failed to deliver on their false promises. In areas where the “upgrades” were completed, many times the “service”, if you can call it that, is 100 times worse than it was before they started to “upgrade” it. Before their failed “upgrades”, the service was ok…now it does not even work. Sprint’s problems are due to gross incompetence of its CEO and top executives…remember the Nextel fiasco? They falsely promised that they would expand and upgrade the Nextel network. They shut down the Nextel network, so as to force the Nextel customers onto their failed network…calling it “migrating” the Nextel IDEN customers to CDMA…they sure did migrate the Nextel customers to CDMA…they bypassed Sprint’s joke of a network and went straight to Verizon. Verizon is still laughing up its sleeves about that.

I am a former Sprint customer who paid the ETF to quit Sprint so as to go to Verizon for its reliable network. A 2nd time I was on my daughter’s Sprint family-share plan, when her sisterinlaw wanted to substitute her Ebay phone for my phone as the 3rd line on the contract, and I was going to port my Sprint number and phone over to Boost Mobile. Well, I lost my number and service because Sprint and Boost “Useless” Mobile couldn’t or wouldn’t do it and in a rage, I went back to Verizon and signed TWO 2-year contracts with Verizon and I have never, ever regretted it. I hate Boost Mobile to this day for that. While I had Boost, I had constant problems, and dropped calls…never again.

I do have service with Sprint with a mobile hotspot as a backup for my reliable Verizon 4G LTE service, and a tablet that I just gave to my niece because I just got one with Verizon. Sprint really should get out of the cellphone service business and stick to mobile broadband internet. They are 10 years behind Verizon Wireless and in 10 years , they MIGHT be where Verizon is right now this minute…but by then Verizon will be on 5G or whatever the technology will be and Sprint will still be 10+ years behind Verizon.

The reason Verizon was able to complete their 4G LTE upgrade is because they planned well, and carried out their upgrades without losing customers, and without disrupting cellphone and/or data service like Sprint continues to do.

Sprint is a joke and a national embarrassment. Their customers are leaving in droves with many going to Verizon. Can you say “mass customer exodus”? Verizon and other carriers are raking in record profits and customers, due to Sprint’s sorriness, lies, deceit, and gross incompetence of their CEO and executives. They just laid of 800+ csr’s and are closing Sprint stores right and left. On Sprint customer forums, I counted 9, yes nine, customers, announcing that they were canceling their contracts and going to other carriers. Many are 10+ year customers, and even many 20+ year customers are leaving. One customer, had 22+ years with Sprint and was leaving for another carrier.

Bye, Sprint. Good riddance!!!

bobby hans

Think twice before you associate with Robert Herron and S4GRU. He’s admitted many times that he accesses Sprint’s internal systems (obviously) illegally in order to get info on Sprint’s rollout. Sprint has more than enough self-incriminating evidence courtesy of Robert Herron in his posts with him stating that yes, he is accessing Sprint’s internal systems.

john doe

I’m not sure I would associate myself with S4GRU and Robert Herron. He’s admitted in many of his posts that he is accessing Sprint’s internal systems (obviously) illegally in order to get info regarding the Sprint rollout. It’s only a matter of time before Sprint takes action, criminal and civil as that site has evidence galore.

Guest

Oh shut up. Sprint gets so much free marketing from s4gru and thousands of people go there which ultimately results in them staying with sprint. I highly doubt sprint is not aware of that site. I am sure they actually are happy it exists and probably pop on every now and then to see what peole are thinking of their new network. Certainly can’t get any reliable results from Facebook or sprint forums as those are full of trolls.

empresstrudy

Sprint should exit the retail business and stick to being a bulk minute wholesaler to Virgin and Boost in lieu of making absurd promises for a decade. At least their bulk customers get SLAs even if it is for Angeles imaginary network.

Brendon

How can you say T-Mobile has “nationwide LTE” when the vast majority of their footprint is not LTE?

The closest T-Mobile tower to me is still 2G while AT&T, Verizon, and most recently Sprint all have LTE here.

Jesse Thunder

TM are in the process of converting around half of 2G towers by end of the year and the rest early next year. Their 4G LTE are seriously faster than AT&T’s 4G HSPA crap as I did compared side by side. Recently I traveled out of town on I-40 out west and retained 4G most of the drive. Then out in the country miles from Lake Eufaula, I did have 4G (years ago, a friend there couldn’t access well at her country home on TM). Now that I’m with TM, I have and am witnessing aggressive work on converting many 2G/3G towers to 4G. Its amazing. By late 2015, TM will start to see dramatic increase of new and returning customers cuz their pricing plans plus unlimited are so amazing. Plans are even more amazing for deafies. Truly put Verizon to shame (I recently left them). I’m saving a lot of money and getting so much more.

TM are in fact working much faster than Spring’s silly 2017 goal. If won’t be long till TM are recognized as #1 by many places. Join TM and may the T-Force be w/ u!

KCMC

I too came to Sprint 3 years ago hoping for a great experience but instead have been very disappointed. I had been a 20 year ATT (via SWB Mobile Systems; Cingular and then
ATT ). I also liked Sprint because I live in KC and have several friends who are Sprint employees. After suffering with horrible service the last year I couldn’t take it any more and went back to ATT. My service is awesome and I’m glad I switched back even if I did have to pay ETF on 3 of my 5 phones. It’s well worth the price to experience decent service!

Matt

Sorry JulieH but you are just mis-informed about the capability of NV and Spark…you can start with the fact that Sprint has more Spectrum than VZ and AT&T combined…the market is also now recognizing the true value of the 2.5Ghz spectrum….and we will see it combind with small cells for fantastic speed and reliability….the point is AT&T and VZ have a big problem, most AT&T users are already all-too-familiar with it when they do data downloads in certain areas….simply they cannot accomodate much more traffic…..

…now that’s just from a Spectrum perspective, the NV and Spark network is a complete rip and replace as Hesse puts it of the whole network….even this slanted article half managed to comment that the others are laying 4G over top…this all gets very technical but suffice it to say the Sprint network when competed THIS YEAR (NV aspect) wil be bar none the world’s best…….

T-Mobile is making a splash now but due to limited Spectrum and Network capability…note T-Mobile has long been calling their HSPA+ network 4G when it is not……read the disclaimer….”4G speeds”…….it’s pretty disingenuous…….basically their efforts are not sustainable long term…that’s why DT wants out…will take WAY too much investment to catch up to what Sprint has almost now complete……

Madlyb

Almost complete? Seriously?

Have you looked at a coverage map or experienced their LTE service? The quality of the network has steadily declined over the last couple of years. A tower near my home was upgraded last fall and was blazing fast for a few weeks, but now performs at about a tenth of the initial speed, barely exceeding the 3G speeds I experienced when I joined, and 3G in some areas has become so bad it resembles AT&T’s EDGE network and I can’t even check email.

Yes, the other vendors did an overlay, which comes with its own challenges, but they are delivering capability today, instead years from now. Sprint just has a bunch of unfulfilled promises.

JulieH

@Matt:
Yes, Sprint absolutely has the thickest spectrum portfolio that is hardly utilized. How are we benefitting from it? That’s right, we aren’t…

For years Sprint’s been promising that they’ll have this incredible network, but have never ever delivered. Even their 2.5Ghz Spark goals are so loosely set that by the time (and if) they meet them, their network isn’t going to be much better than average.

Sprint has to speed up their LTE deployment goals, and if they ever want to be competitive need to prioritize the densest urban areas, and actually DEPLOY that massive amount of 2.5Ghz LTE not just theorize about it.

JulieH

Sprint has been building that miracle network for almost 3 years. They expect to have it finished by 2017. They aren’t gonna be ahead of any competition even if they ever complete those NV upgrades as other national providers won’t be just sitting and spectating.
If Sprints 2017 goal is to catch up with T-Mobile’s or Verizon’s LTE performance from the year of 2013, then we’re all doomed…

digiblur

So glad that someone points out the realism of Sprint. People want the network of today, not the network of tomorrow. Tomorrow is always tomorrow and it never gets here.

People are tired of the excuses and it shows. What’s the excuse for their pretty LTE network already being bogged down to less than 1 megabit speeds in many markets? Do those customers have to wait another 2 or 3 years for the future network again?

It’s a shame. So much potential there but there’s too much failure to see it.

Grant

Sprint is basically building a completely brand new network. It has to do this in order to effectively get full use out of its spectrum portfolio and to stay competitive. Once sprint is done with this network upgrade, they will be ahead of the competition technology wise(I know, we’ve been hearing this for years) Keep in mind exactly though what sprint is doing. Lets put it into perspective.

1. Prior to the decommission of the Nextel network, Sprint was managing around 68,000 cell towers. Next, Sprint turns off the Iden network.

2. Sprints original CDMA network was built for 1900MHz spectrum. In its current footprint, it requires 38,000 towers. Now put 800MHz spectrum from nextel into play. To cover the same distance will require only around 11,000 towers.

3. Then take the 2.5GHz spectrum. Clearwire covered 88 markets and used 16000 towers. That comes to around 181 cell cites per city (average). If sprint were to fill only cities with 100,000 people or more with 2.5GHz, That would be around 289 markets. 188(290)= 52,490 cell sites for 2.5GHz

4 Add that on top of the 11,000 for the national footprint. That comes to a total of 63,490 towers, which is still less than it was managing before. I know most people will say “well what about the rural areas? sprint coverage sucks.” well, if you use nextels old network as a model, it takes about 30,000 towers to cover the urban areas, using 800MHz spectrum it will take around an additional 18000, to cover the remaining rural areas. Sprint would be at about 85 percent total land mass, like verizon. Do I think they will take this route, No. But the new network architecture and the spectrum portfolio do give it the flexibility to. This money is not going to waist, if sprint is still alive when the network build out is finished, you are going to see a brand new beast.

Matt

What a completely slanted and misinformed view of Sprint, its current speed, its Network Vision and Spark buildouts, it’s relationship within the industry. Amazing. This article is stitched together from out of context quotes to out of context information back to out of context quotes and on to outright misinformation and is one of many many “hit” pieces on Sprint that have “magically” appeared to spread misinformation. Truth is Sprints’s 4G NV exceeds speeds of all the others, Spark where available blows the others away by 4x, right now. I can understand the frustration of some who while NV reached certain phases experienced issues, Hesse has been clear about that in conference calls, very clear, but to extrapolate that out to the entire state of the Network is just indicative of a writer who starts with a story facts be damned, sounds like someone doesn’t like Sprint finally delivering.

Madlyb

As a user of Sprint for several years, who has to travel for work, I find the article very accurate of the state of Sprint’s network. On top of the LTE mess, 3G performance has steadily worsened, once rock solid voice has become quite erratic, and customer service is nowhere as good as it was just 2 years ago.

Frank A NYC

Does he expect his competitors to give him time? Hey Dan, this isn’t Tee ball, there is no mercy rule.

Aaron

I see you mentioning T-Mobile for some odd reason an awful lot for this to be a Sprint article. What bothers me is you keep talking about the speeds and capacity of T-Mobile but fail to mention that it’s 4G and even 3G footprint is TINY. Once you leave city limits you are stuck in 1990’s and 2000’s 2G coverage. Even some large cities are only 2G coverage.

Todd Giffen

This guy is right. I have T-Mobile LTE in Eugene, and as soon as I leave the city to the freeway it drops to no connection or EDGE. the data over this links is limited, heavy packet loss, and almost no data gets through most of the time. The smaller cities which make up Oregon have no 3G or 4G, and the I5 freeway even between major cities like Portland and Salem is .. non existent. For this reason I think Sprint has the best network for the money, cause they have LTE even onto the freeway here and 3G at 2.4Mbps probably inbetween the LTE but I have not tested yet. The only real downside to Sprint are the locked down CDMA phones, that can’t be used on anyone elses network.. People today need unlocked world phones with GSM for resale value and easier trading/bartering, and like me, possibility to take my phone elsewhere in a pinch or even for multinetwork usage (I’d put in a SIM and use Sprint if there were a reason, for example).

cacarr

But try actually finding a Sprint LTE signal _in_ Portland. And their 3G network is terribly slow.

Madlyb

I moved to Sprint with the release of the HTC Evo (and the promises of WiMax) and that should have been the lesson for me with failed promises of delivering the service beyond it’s initial release and ultimately never making it to my home or office.

Instead, I jumped back in with the release of the HTC One, which I love as a phone, and I did it because Sprint had announced LTE for my market in just a couple of months. I confirmed the timeline before signing up again, and almost a year later I am still looking at 3G every day even though their own website says my area is covered in wonderful LTE. The local Sprint store (which also sits in 3G) explained it as this is a tower by tower upgrade and they are not turning on LTE until everything is perfect (tower, radios, backhaul) and it is backhaul that seems to be the long pole in the tent.

I can commend them for doing a proper buildout and I am sure they are working within fiscal constraints, but I am tired of broken commitments and service that has become even more erratic over the last months and will be, hopefully, finding a carrier that actually provides what they promise.

Sorry Dan, done with the lies. Either put up or shut up. We don’t want to hear it anymore.

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