Sprint has announced the first test market for its upcoming 4G LTE network, and the selected market is leaving many scratching their heads. Citizens of Kankakee, Illinois, a small town of about 27,500 people 60 miles south of Chicago, now find themselves in the center of Sprint’s LTE rollout.
We have to wonder how many folks in Kankakee will be making use of the network, considering that smartphones are arguably more of a luxury than a right. The 2006 to 2010 Censuses reported that a full 31.2% of Kankakee residents are living below the poverty line, compared to about 14% nationwide.
Assuming the tests in Kankakee go well, Sprint will be lighting up 10 additional markets with its next-generation Now Network by the end of June. Kansas City, Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston will join 4 yet to be named cities lighting up in June. Once those 10 markets are up, Sprint will be aggressively rolling out their network, with plans for full implementation to be completed by the end of 2013.
There are currently no devices that support Sprint’s 4G LTE network available to consumers, though the $99.99 LG Viper 4G LTE will go on sale later this month, followed by the HTC EVO 4G LTE and Samsung Galaxy Nexus later this quarter. Hopefully Sprint will be giving some of these devices out to folks in Kankakee, lest they don’t actually have people testing the network at all.
If you happen to be a citizen of Kankakee, Illinois, the wait for a next generation network from a budget carrier will soon be over, and you should see the powerful 4G speeds hitting your airwaves soon. Be sure to drop us a line once you’re up and running on LTE so we know what to expect from the Now Network.