LTE iPhones/iPads On Sprint Will Be Slower Than On Verizon Or AT&T

LTE iPhones/iPads On Sprint Will Be Slower Than On Verizon Or AT&T

If the next iPhone has LTE, Sprint still wants to offer you an unlimited plan.

Sprint’s plans to migrate its 4G server from its current WiMax standard to the more common LTE already in use by Verizon and AT&T. The move should allow Sprint to offer LTE iPads as well as future LTE iPhones. That’s good new for the carrier and Sprint customers.

Unfortunately, there’s also some bad news. Sprint’s LTE network won’t be able to match the performance of its competitors.

Sprint’s network Senior Vice President, Bob Azzi was on hand at this week’s CTIA conference in New Orleans to talk about Sprint’s overall strategy for both 3G and 4G service. In describing the wireless channels that the company is devoting to LTE Azzi told PCMag that Sprint will, at least initially, be using narrower 5MHz channels compared to the broader 10MHz used by other carriers. Azzi said that this will keep Sprint users from getting peak connection speeds as fast as Verizon and AT&T customers whose peak connection speeds can reach 30-40Mbps.

Instead, Sprint said that it plans focus on delivering consistency and convenience more than reaching peak performance. Among other things that means delivering a reliable network and reducing issues surrounding the handoff between LTE and 3G towers. That handover can take minutes on some devices when they leave the range of LTE service and switch over to 3G. Sprint has already said that it will offer an unlimited LTE data plan for future iPhones.

Sprint didn’t offer any LTE performance data and didn’t say whether the it would eventually use broader channels for LTE service. The company also avoided answering questions about its time table for rolling out LTE service to new markets. Currently Sprint only supports LTE in six cities.

Sprint executives also pointed out that the company is committed to providing better service for iPhone 4/4S users. The company is shifting voice calling to bandwidth previously used for Nextel messaging to open up more spectrum in the bands used for 3G devices. This will allow Sprint to increase performance of the iPhone without requiring Apple to build in support for another frequency range. T-Mobile’s use of unusual frequency bands for 3G service is a major reason that it remains the only national U.S. carrier not offering the iPhone.

  • sosickitzill

    I don’t think AT&T and Verizon’s Fake 4G LTE network are any faster. Real world situations and in densely populated cities like mines. That 30-40mbps peak download is pure fantasy! Can’t knock Sprint, they’ll be okay. 

  • ApplePr0n

    Um I have a 3rd gen iPad that has VZW’s LTE. I pull 33mbs down on Speedtest routinely

  • Davidreasey

    Hey sosickitzill, before you just go running your mouth about shit you know nothing about, you should use your sprint phone and google 2012 speed test. In doing so you will see that PCWorld conducted a real time speed test on April 17,2012 in 13 cities that concluded AT&T as the the clear winner for the “faster 4G network for smartphones”. So much for your claim about AT&T’s “fake” 4G network.

  • lymkb3
    The 4gLTE for Sprint will be much different than with wimax. Wimax was never intended to go nationwide. The new 4gLTE is supposed to have WAY more coverage than Wimax and it will also be faster. Sprint has cut almost all relations with Clearwire and almost bankrupt the company, wimax will only be supported until 2014-2015 after which it will be terminated along with Clearwire im guessing. I currently receive wimax and the speeds are decent, I am willing to wait for LTE to roll around since it wil be better in every for. It will be slower than verizon but will probably have speeds above 10Mbps which is more than enough to stream HD videos. and I will still have my unlimited data plan that I will be able to use to its even greater potential

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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