New York City, the town that continually challenged AT&T to swaddle it in 3G connectivity-is now a part of the Sprint 4G service network, the carrier announced Nov. 1. Also newly live are Hartford and New Haven, Conn.; New Brunswick and Trenton, N.J., and Tampa, Fla.
Based on WiMax technology from Clearwire, the 4G network is said to offer speeds “10 times faster” than 3G, according to Sprint officials.
“Sprint has provided customers with 4G service since 2008, and we’re proud to extend our leadership to six more cities today, including New York City,” Matt Carter, president of Sprint 4G, said in a statement. “Sprint is the first national wireless carrier to make 4G a reality for our customers, and with the addition of these six new markets we are now in 61 cities, including Chicago, Baltimore and Houston, and are growing.”
Sprint customers can access the 4G network-which defaults to 3G in non-coverage areas-using the Samsung Epic 4G and HTC Evo 4G smartphones, as well as its Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot.
In addition to Sprint, New Yorkers have the choice of turning to Time Warner Cable or Clearwire for their 4G connectivity needs, the three announced in a joint Oct. 18 statement-though both the Sprint- and Time Warner-branded services rely on Clearwire technology.
Again thanks to Clearwire, Sprint was the first wireless carrier out of the gate with 4G, but that hasn’t stopped competitors Verizon and AT&T Wireless from talking up their 4G efforts during recent third-quarter earnings calls. AT&T, which plans to upgrade to HSPA+ before rolling out an LTE (Long Term Evolution) 4G network in 2011, played up the high quality that customers can expect when their devices default to 3G.
“On our network, [customers are] going to have a great experience on LTE,” AT&T CFO Rick Lindner said during AT&T’s Oct. 21 call, “but as they move off of that geography, they’re going to have a very, very good experience on HSPA+ … versus other carriers, where you will see a significant decrease in speeds when you’re out of their 4G footprint area.”
During Verizon’s Oct. 22 call, however, CFO John Killian said “all systems are go” on its plans to cover 110 million people with LTE service by year’s end, and that coverage outside of its 4G network won’t be a problem either, though for different reasons. By 2012, Verizon shared in its earning statement, its 4G network is expected to cover “virtually all of the company’s current nationwide 3G footprint.”
Sprint’s Carter added that it will soon additionally “light up several major new markets,” including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Denver and Washington D.C.
On Oct. 27, Sprint, too, announced its third-quarter results, which included one of the lowest churn rates in its history and the addition of 644,000 wireless subscribers. It attributed the additions, in part, to its 4G-enabled handsets. Demand for the HTC Evo 4G and Samsung Epic 4G, said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, helped Sprint post a postpaid churn result of 1.93 percent, its best ever during a third quarter.