Sprint's Spark Program Promises 50-60 Mbps Mobile Broadband Speeds
As 4G LTE rolls out, the game is changing yet again, as it offers speeds several times that of 3G. However, even as the 4G revolution persists, Sprint is looking to push mobile Internet performance further.
Sprint is launching the Sprint Spark™ enhanced LTE capability, which promises blistering peak speeds of 50-60 Megabits per second (Mbps). It is expected to launch in 100 U.S. cities over the course of the next three years, with the first five cities -- New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa, and Miami. By the end of 2014, Sprint expects to have the super-high-speed service available to some 100 million users.
Sprint Spark uses tri-band technology to accomplish its speeds, combining three bands of LTE (800MHz, 1.9GHz, and 2.5GHz spectrum) with TDD-LTE 2.5GHz technology and 2.5GHz-band carrier aggregation and dynamically pivoting from one band to another depending on factors such as location and application.
One catch is that most current mobile devices don’t have the necessary technology to tap into these tri-band capabilities, so part of Sprint’s push is upgrading mobile hotspots and popular handsets with Sprint Spark technology. The first smartphones capable of tri-band are already arriving, though; the HTC One Max is the first, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini and Samsung Galaxy Mega will be receiving over-the-air (OTA) updates soon.
The most compelling part of Sprint Spark isn’t just the 50-60Mbps peak speeds, though; Sprint believes that it can technically offer upwards of 2Gbps over-the-air with potential future updates, given the capabilities of the spectrum and technology assets it’s using already. The company has already demonstrated mobile 1.3Gbps in a lab demonstration, which is itself mind-blowing.
To put it in perspective, wired 1Gbps connections aren’t even available in most places in the country. Gigabit Internet capabilities are coming along slowly, and cities are digging deeply into their pockets in hopes of securing those services. When gigabit Internet becomes widespread, it will dramatically change everything from entertainment to healthcare to communication to business paradigms--and so much more so when the same Internet performance comes to mobile devices.