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Sprint Expands LTE To 300 Markets

Overland Park, Kansas – Sprint expanded 4G LTE coverage to 70 more markets, bringing its number of LTE markets to 300, the carrier announced.

New markets include Green Bay, Wisc; Orlando, Fla; San Diego; and St. Louis.

The rollout is part of the carrier’s Network Vision network-upgrade campaign, which includes the addition of LTE to the 800MHz spectrum previously reserved for its 2G iDEN network. The initiative also includes the expansion of LTE in its 1.9GHz spectrum and the addition of LTE to the 2.5GHz spectrum, which it obtained with this year’s acquisition of carrier Clearwire.

Sprint has said its 800MHz LTE coverage will expand to reach 150 million people by the end of 2014, its 1.9GHz LTE coverage will reach 250 million people by mid 2014 from about 200 million at the end of 2013, and its 2.5GHz LTE coverage will reach100 million people by the end of 2014.

In mid 2014, Sprint’s network improvements will be far enough along to be promoted in a national campaign, CEO Dan Hesse has said.

 The network initiative includes the rollout of what Sprint calls Sprint Spark service, which combines 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz LTE spectrum to initially deliver peak data speeds of 50-60Mbps.

 Sprint Spark-enabled handsets actively hand-off data sessions among the carrier’s 800MHz, 1.9GHz and 2.5GHz bands to give users the highest speed available for an application in use at a given moment. Spark will light up the top 100 markets in the next three years, the company has said.

 In two years, Sprint could accelerate Spark speeds to 150-180Mbps using carrier aggregation to provide 60MHz-wide 2.5 GHz channels using carrier aggregation. That could produce real-world speeds of 150-180 Mbps, Hesse has said.