Dec 17, 2013 10:35 AM EST
Sprint is expanding its 4G data network at a pretty impressive rate, announcing today the roll out of LTE coverage in 70 new markets including Orlando, San Diego and St. Louis. The company says it now offers 4G LTE in 300 markets and will continue to increase its coverage footprint.
The Dan Hesse-led telecom has been working overtime in 2013 to make up for a late entry into the LTE market. Earlier this year, the company announced a new data service called Spark that promised download speeds between 50-60Mbps. Meanwhile, Sprint has continued to invest in its 3G network and Hesse in October reiterated a pledge that unlimited data wasn’t going anywhere.
“In 2013, we made major improvements across our 3G and 4G LTE network,” said Bob Azzi, chief network officer in a press statement. “In the growing number of markets where the upgrades are nearly complete, our customers are noticing. Re-engineering our entire network has been a big undertaking, but now it’s delivering tangible benefits to our customers. With the announcement of Sprint Spark, the increasing availability of 4G LTE and the improvements we have made to our voice network, we’re full speed ahead for 2014.”
The buildup of its coverage footprint and the launch of Spark are part of an overall initiative aimed at transforming Sprint into the premier carrier for data usage in the U.S. The company is a distant third to Verizon and AT&T in terms of subscriber base, but it’s the only major telecom still offering an unlimited data plan.
“These advances are made possible because of the continued rollout of Sprint’s Network Vision program in 2013, which includes a complete upgrade of the 3G network and deployment of 4G LTE. As part of that program, Sprint is redeploying its 800MHz spectrum for LTE and 3G with the goal of delivering improved in-building coverage for voice and data,” the company said.
Sprint clearly intends to have a good year in 2014 and it’s looking beyond building out its 4G LTE network. The carrier is reportedly keen on acquiring T-Mobile. Rumors on Monday suggested Sprint was considering merging with its rival, but CNET reports that the prospects of any potential deal passing regulatory approval are less than stellar.
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