Sprint has officially flipped the switch on three-channel carrier aggregation in 100 different markets, with updates going out to six different devices to enable the functionality. While 13 of the devices Sprint sells and has sold are reportedly compatible, Sprint has yet to get around to issuing updates for six of the devices in question. Along with the HTC Bolt, which launched with the feature, this batch of updates brings the total amount of phones on the Now Network that can use the feature up to seven. Owners of the Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, LG V20, LG G5, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus all have updates coming their way to enable the functionality, which means that they could be seeing peak download speeds of around 200 megabits per second, if they live in one of the 100 markets where three-channel carrier aggregation has been rolled out.
According to a Sprint representative, the capability has now made it to about 20% of the total devices on Sprint's network. This does not necessarily mean that 20% of Sprint devices out there are using three-carrier channel aggregation, of course; there are only about 100 markets available right now, compared to the 250 markets that two-channel carrier aggregation has been rolled out in. The same representative said that updates are on the way to enable the functionality on the last six compatible devices left without it in the near future, and the technology will continue to expand throughout Sprint's network areas. Presumably, future devices will ship with the feature enabled, so long as their hardware is capable.
A number of big metro markets are on the list of three-channel carrier aggregation areas. Places like Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, Dallas, and San Francisco all have the new technology available to users. Other carriers have rolled out three-channel carrier aggregation, as well. Some, at this point, have it rolled out on a somewhat wide scale due to a large head start, such as T-Mobile. Three-channel carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, and other technologies are helping carriers to keep customers satisfied with improvements to their LTE networks as they continually race toward commercial 5G deployment, a race that just about any player could still win at this point.