On Tuesday, Sprint announced that their Spark network had expanded into Chicago. Spark is basically their enhanced LTE network which uses all three bands, aka tri-band. That’s the 800MHz, 1.9GHz, and 2.5GHz bands, which will provide data session continuity as the devices move between spectrum bands. Sprint is looking to deploy Spark in 100 of the largest cities in the US in the next three years. Initial availability is limited to just 5 markets right now which include New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tampa and Miami. Sprint is estimating that about 250 million Americans will be covered by Sprint’s LTE network by mid-2014, and about 100 million will have access to Sprint Spark by the end of 2014.
Sprint already has a couple of phones that are compatible with Spark, including the LG G2 and HTC One Max, and now the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be available in the next few weeks with Sprint Spark compatibility. Similar to what happened with the Galaxy S3 on T-Mobile last year, this is a second version of the Galaxy S4. It’ll be available for $199 on a new contract. This is after a $50 mail-in rebate via reward card. It’ll also be available on Sprint’s One Up program which will cost you about $25/month. So not a bad price at all.
Spark is supposed to provide the capacity to greatly improve the performance of video and other bandwidth-intensive applications while opening the way for futuristic apps. Sprint Spark is also designed to support a new generation of online gaming, virtual reality, advanced cloud services and more. Let’s hope the network doesn’t get overcrowded, as that seems to be the major issue with their existing 3G network and now 4G LTE network.
How many of you are going to be picking up the Samsung Galaxy S4 Spark-ready device once it becomes available in all of Sprint’s retail channels? Let us know in the comments below.