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Sprint’s Spark LTE Network Doesn’t Allow Data and Voice Simultaneously

May 9, 2014 - Written By Nick Sutrich

Sprint has been doing a lot to improve its network lately.  It’s probably no surprise to anyone who reads tech news sites that Sprint’s network isn’t usually quite as fast or reliable as some of the other networks out there, and the management of the company knows this better than anyone.  After all they lost a significant amount of customers over the last year due to network issues and they’ve been working to rectify that situation.  In October Sprint announced a new kind of LTE network to compete with the other big three networks, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.  This new LTE network was dubbed Spark and it works by utilizing 3 separate spectrums to deliver some serious throughput.  But there was a wrinkle in the equation and just yesterday we found out that Sprint is going to be throttling its unlimited users during peak data hours if they’ve crossed over 5GB used in a month.  Considering Sprint has advertised “truly unlimited” for years now this sort of thing isn’t going to go over well with some users.

Now it looks like Sprint’s Spark LTE network might not be all its cut out to be either, at least if you were planning on using data while making phone calls.  Back in the 3G and earlier days you couldn’t make phone calls and browse the web at the same time when using a CDMA network like Sprint and Verizon had, but once 4G technologies started taking off users were finally able to make calls while using data.  This was done because a 3G radio was still included with the phone, allowing users to utilize 4G data speeds while using 3G calling technology.  Phones with a tri-band LTE Spark radio inside of them don’t use the 3G CDMA network though, and don’t allow voice and data at the same.  There is a little silver lining here though, as users can use Sprint’s WiFi calling while using data, but obviously that’s only going to be a limited number of scenarios out there.  Ultimately this is disappointing news, and a step backward for users.