Sprint Logo 2.5

Spectrum Acquired from Clearwire Could Make Sprint’s LTE Faster Than All the Rest

March 17, 2014 - Written By Tom Dawson

While Sprint does have some decent plans on offer, and has some of the latest and greatest Android phones on offer, we can all agree that their data speeds pale in comparison to industry giants such as Verizon and AT&T. For many of us, Sprint’s slow uptake on LTE was a surprise, after all they were the first company to bring a “4G” network to the table with WiMax and the beloved EVO 4G, since then however AT&T and Verizon have become some of the largest and best LTE networks in the country. Strategy Analytics has been taking a look at the spectrum the network acquired from Clearwire recently, and found that the 120 Mhz portion they now own in the 2.5 Ghz band could allow them to become one of the fastest LTE networks in the country.

A lot of you might be thinking, really, Sprint is going to end up with a good network? The spectrum that Sprint holds in the 2.5 Ghz spectrum was recently tested in February, along with Nokia, in which 120 Mhz of spectrum was aggregated to from a TD-LTE network that delivered a throughput of 2.6 Gbps, as well as what their claiming is a speed record for TD-LTE. Of course, tests aren’t anywhere near the same as real-world results, which is where a lot of you will be questioning Sprint’s coverage. Sprint owns 120 Mhz in the 2.5 band in 90 percent of the Top 100 US markets, which might not be everywhere, but it’s an excellent start, and there’s nothing stopping Sprint buying up more of this spectrum in the future.

So, the spectrum they managed to salvage from Clearwire can deliver excellent TD-LTE performance, but with Sprint looking to bring in 2×20 MHz carrier aggregation this year and 3×20 MHz carrier by the end of 2015, it might not be soon enough. As always though, the FCC is looking to make changes to how carriers can use their spectrum, which could spell bad news for Sprint in the future, but right now they could be sitting on a whole bunch of potential. That seems to be the big thing with Sprint, there’s always a lot of potential, but very little ever comes of it. With the launch of Spark towards the end of last year, Sprint made an important move forward in terms of speed, but their coverage was again sorely lacking. With the investment from Softbank, hopefully we see even more of a move forward for Sprint this year, regardless of a possible merger with T-Mobile.