What happens in 2014? Sprint is going to turn on 4G LTE in the 800 MHz band. That spectrum is currently being used for iDEN, better known as push to talk. Less than 6 million people are currently using that network, which means that prime real estate spectrum is being underutilized. Once Sprint moves some of their 4G LTE to that band however, they’ll be much better able to compete with the likes of AT&T and Verizon, who own spectrum in the 700 MHz band. Sprint’s network will use half the amount of spectrum (5 MHz down, 5 MHz up) that AT&T and Verizon use (both do 10 MHz down, 10 MHz up), but Sprint has half the number of customers, so … less load equals more speed? We’ll find out.
Should you care about any of this? That’s debatable. We’ve always questioned the usefulness of 4G LTE on a smartphone. This writer is on a data plan that’s capped at 1 megabit per second down and he’s never thought to himself that it was somehow “slow”. If you’re the “must share every piece of media I capture on the three or more social networks I use” type, then yes, you’ll probably appreciate the higher upload speeds that 4G LTE offers.
[Additional Reading: Fierce Wireless]
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